I've been amused and interested for many years over fandom as it relates to mega properties, but there is only one Star Wars. It is king, There is no hype like Star Wars Hype, and as I've said before, there is a special kind of love for something that requires hating it. It applies to D&D, Star Wars, and poor Mr. Lucas. There is perhaps no better examination in farce of the series than "
Mr. Plinkitt's" at Red Letter Media, which is literally longer than the first film, and is a serious take on the films as told by an unreliable character. Sort of like Steven Colbert if he was homicidal and rabid, or Jon Stewart. Now, with the new film, and the 3.5 trailers (as of this moment if you include the international one) and all the toys, and the various "leaks," peeks, and freaks creating weird images like this one on the right. Cylo Ren is Luke!?! I... I mean Luke's son!... I mean his failed apprentice!... I mean his nephew! I mean... the twin brother of Fen! I mean... Oh., uh I dunno. Thing. Mole evidence is hard to argue with.
Ok, so here's the deal. There seem to be two camps on this stuff.
1) Spoilers suck!: This is the fingers-in-the-ears-camp. I respect this, because it represents the desire of people to experience a pure unbiased and unspoiled low-expectation version of a film. This is how I experienced Stargate the first time, and it resulted in over a decade of entertainment for me, in what was for a long time my favorite franchise. (Perhaps it still is - in my heart - but SG1 didn't age well.)
2) Spoilers rock!: This is the camp that wants to piece the film and all of its revelations before the the thing is even in its final edit. I think there is probably infinite diversity in infinite combinations here, but I'd identify two camps: a) the ones who enjoy the hype and enjoy the ride, disappointment be darned! b) rabid fanboy (and girl) "Enthusiastic" fans who actually contribute content. (This was a linchpin element in my Dissertation if you care.)
Given this, I'm fairly sure that we can summarize the fan action right now as everyone is enjoying the hype in their own way, and we should respect that.
Ok, so that brings me back to one of the big speculations... Who is Kylo Ren? Well, I know. I actually really know. And the first thing is that everybody with a theory is right. And also wrong. And also possibly right. Because the thing of it is, Kylo is us. He's the fan-base.
Consider the facts. There are as many tee-shirts with Vader's face on them as Luke's. Vader is the villain we loved. The one we grew up with. The one we wanted to be. The original story arc for Vader is fall and redemption. It is about father-son relationships and the nature of the dark side. It is the story that we, now many of us fathers, went to see with our fathers. (I saw Jedi with my dad. I remember it well.) Wipe cut to today. This guy with a homemade malfunctioning one-off light-saber seems to be collecting Vader memorabilia. He's going to "finish what Vader started," yet he's the bad guy. Apparently a Sith wannabe, of the order of the knights of Ren. His true identity is irrelevant right now - because he's you. He's me. He's the fan who turned against Lucas, went dark side, and said a bad thing, or thought a bad thing about some aspect of Star Wars.
Maybe it was the prequels, Jar Jar, midichlorians, or the "special editions" or that "Han shot first," but we all did it. We all were tempted by the dark side of the force. And we did it out of passion. We turned our love into hate. And we pushed Lucas away. So much so that he sold the company to Disney. This isn't bad, but we are now looking to J.J. Abrams to "save the franchise," restore the hope, bring back the magic... and a LOT of work has been put into doing that, from clever deception to teasers, to emphasis on practical effects that aren't CG.
So, wherever the story goes, and whatever happens to Kylo Ren, whomever he turns out to be... (and by my money it's Skywalker blood,) just remember - we are him. He is we. Just as Luke was Lucas, Wesley Crusher was Roddenberry, and every good story needs a villain we can love, hate, and possibly even redeem.