When it comes to editing your movie, not only is a lot of footage going to get left on the cutting room floor, but sometimes, things get switched around, too. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Star Wars: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams points to when they shot a particular scene, only to ‘realize that something you’ve shot actually has a use you didn’t expect.’ Turns out that this moment was when Kylo Ren places his helmet down in a table of ashes when interrogating Rey. However, that particular helmet shot was from a different scene altogether. Abrams elaborates:
‘The backstory is, that that table has the ashes of the enemies he’s killed… That moment was actually shot for, and meant to be used in, the scene where he was talking to the Vader mask.’
So that technically answers one question: what were the ashes of? Immediate speculation always pointed to them belonging to his grandfather, Darth Vader; if Ren is in possession of his melted helmet, then surely he would have salvaged some (ahem) more of his granddad. But the original intent, of the ashes being the mortal remains of his vanquished foes, lends the villain an even more twisted personality – one borne from trophy-collecting viscousness, and not loving (albeit creepy) kleptomania.
‘He originally had his mask off the first time we shot that scene,’ Abrams continues. ‘Then we reshot it with his mask on, but we had that shot which I loved and thought was so cool of the mask being slammed down into that ash… So that shot was stolen from the scene that we had changed and put into the scene with Rey.’
But why the change in the first place? Again, JJ explains the reasoning: ‘He used to place his mask gingerly onto a piece of the set, which was incredibly unimpressive… So this moment made it a much cooler beat.’
We agree. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out now to own on HD, DVD and Blu-ray.