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Star Wars has two characters with almost the same name: Kybo Ren the space pirate, and Kylo Ren the villain of the upcoming episode The Force Awakens.

Are these characters linked in some way? Even if they have nothing to do with each other, the extreme similarity of the names (they only differ in 1 letter) must mean that the name Kybo Ren must have influenced the name Kylo Ren.

Just think of the odds. I mean, it's not like J.J. Abrams (director) or Lawrence Kasdan (screenwriter) just came up with a completely new Star Wars name that happens to be exactly the same as an older Star Wars name but differs in one letter. Or did they?

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    Related, although not a duplicate: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/100404/… – Paul D. Waite Sep 7 '15 at 21:25
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    @WadCheber: Personally, I'd be inclined to let it stand. Firstly, because I campaign against blind application of "rules", but secondly because maybe it's a plot element in an upcoming work. But maybe they were just influenced or something. If they were influenced then information on this would in no way depend on the release of the film. They'd have to comment on that somewhere or something. So without knowing the answer to the question, we can't know whether it should be closed. Therefore, I argue it remains open. – ThePopMachine Sep 7 '15 at 22:57
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    @Cherubel : You're badly misreading my question. Sure, in the Star Wars galaxy there will be all kinds of unrelated people with similar names. But when an author chooses names for characters, they do so in such a way so as to avoid connection or emphasize connection. Why don't we meet a random James Skywalker in Star Wars with no relation whatsoever to Luke? Because if we did, we would spend years wondering if he was actually somehow related to Luke, distracting us unnecessarily.... – user52712 Sep 8 '15 at 6:47
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    @Cherubel : So, from a storytelling point of view, it seems odd to have two completely different characters with nearly identical names. It could be that they were aware of the previous name and liked it and decided to reuse it. Or there could be an actual connection between characters (unlikely). Or it could all be coincidence. I worded my question in such a way in order to include all of these possibilities. So maybe you should re-compute your reading of it. – user52712 Sep 8 '15 at 6:51
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    @recognizer : It's not like "Kylo Ren" and "Kybo Ren" are common names that you hear everyday like John Smith. I said, I'm willing to take "coincidence" as an answer, but do you really believe that "Kylo Ren" and "Kybo Ren" could have been just been dreamt up completely independently? Given that J.J. Abrams is a self-professed huge Star Wars fan, it actually IS likely that he saw the Droids cartoon, and maybe wanted to pay homage. That's the most likely explanation IMO. – user52712 Sep 8 '15 at 23:41
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Let's look at Kylo Ren:

When you consider this information from Abrams

But there’s another wrinkle to Kylo Ren. In typical Abrams fashion, the more the filmmaker reveals… the more questions arise. It turns out — Kylo Ren isn’t the character’s real name. Or, at least, not the name he was born with. - Entertainment Weekly

The surname Ren isn't a surname at all (at least not for Kylo)

Some have also speculated that the name Kylo Ren is merely a title, but that’s not entirely true. As we learned in an interview with Abrams in Entertainment Weekly, "Ren" is the title, which refers to a mysterious organization called The Knights of Ren. "Kylo" is the unique signifier, a name Kylo Ren chose for himself for some equally mysterious reason. cinema blend

Now we look at this so called Kybo Ren, noted space pirate.

Kybo Ren's full name is Gir Kybo Ren-Cha:

The character was only called Kybo Ren-Cha in Droids; his full name was revealed in the second edition of A Guide to the Star Wars Universe in 1994. - wookieepedia

So at least in canon, the name similarity is coincidence.

Is Kylo Ren some homage or influence from the Droids cartoon?

Maybe.

The Star Wars prequel trilogy films contain many elements which appear to reference and/or resemble elements from the Star Wars: Droids animated series. However, these may have simply been unused concepts that Lucas allowed to be inserted into the series, and then reused the concepts for the prequel films. wookieepedia

It is possible that Abrhams and/or Kasdan decided to continue that homage in Episode VII.

The IMDB bio of Kasdan says:

The characters of R2-D2 and C-3PO, in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), were based on two farmers from The Hidden Fortress (1958)

As a writer who shaped some of R2-D2 and C-3PO's characters, he may have been a fan of the cartoon.

It is possible we may never know for sure until someone straight up asks them.

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I don't think we know for sure yet, but it could be possible since Disney stated they would barrow from previous source materials when they relaunched the cannon.

In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe. While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded. Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe. For example, elements of the EU are included in Star Wars Rebels. The Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Sienar Fleet Systems are story elements in the new animated series, and all these ideas find their origins in roleplaying game material published in the 1980s.

Some examples they have borrowed from so far include Poe's Dameron's Black One X-Wing Fighter that may be based on an abandoned Star Wars toy featured in a 1985 Catalog, Thrawn has come back into the focus through Star Wars Rebels (Along with new books and comics), and even Ben Solo has physical features and is in an antagonistic role like that of Jacen Solo, only not a Sith, with Ben Skywalker's first name (obviously both named for Uncle "Ben"), and whose mask is a similar shape to Darth Raven's...


A bit of speculation looking at "Kylo Ren" and The Knights of Ren

Kylo is in line with a Star Wars-y sounding name, although usually last names like Solo, Holdo, or even a little stretch, Erso. Granted all of these are new additions, except for Solo, which we also know was not Han's actual surname name either, which gives Ben and Han some commonality.

In the 2015 Darth Vader Comic series, readers are introduced to a Dr. Cylo, whose been commissioned by Darth Sidious to make human-hybrid beings taught in the Jedi arts with Dr. Cylo insisting that they can mimic the Force just as well, if not better, than a Force Sensitive being. Being mad at Vader after the destruction of the first Death Star, he wants Cylo's force-mimickers to defeat and kill Vader, but as Vader demonstrates, they are no match for the power of the Force! Dr. Cylo is then killed, but in a shocking plot twist, readers learn that he can transfer his conscious to another body and that he is now on his fifth one! These ideas could easily juxtapose Kylo Ren's and Snoke's roles, should Snoke not be dead and have transferred his conscious...It should be noted that in Legends canon, the Emperor was also cloned. This could be seen as another way to preserve oneself, as many of the comics are playing with life extension.

Which brings me to The Knights of Ren. The first thing I thought of outside possibly being a reference to The Seven Samurai, is that the suffix REN fits in the word erRENt, which Star Wars also had their own version of the Medieval Military Order that is now Legends. So one may see them as adventurous knights, making them close to "space pirates", but there could also be a "pun" on errant with errand, since it seems like they may do Snoke's bidding, running errands for him...There could be something here like Snoke promised them this grand exploring life, but perhaps become disillusioned over time, pending on what their actual current existence is, since we have not seen them except for in a vision-flashback.

Another word that comes to mind is REN-aissance, which could imply a revival or more literally a "rebirth". The new trilogy starts out with the title of the first film, The Force AWAKENS and does imply some yet to be disclosed Force-related cycle cosmology.

Taking that further, many have speculated that The Knights of Ren may be an advancement or evolution of Acolytes of the Beyond since we know Snoke cares about the Skywalker bloodline and may have helped to cultivate Ben's obsession with Darth Vader. Kylo Ren specifically tells Rey that the blue lightsaber belongs to him and later, the two are so equally strong with the force they split the lightsaber apart!

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No one is really completely sure but I have heard a theory that states Kylo chose his new name because of different people he knew. Such as 'Ren' is just one letter off from his real name: Ben. And then his first name is just a combo of sKYwalker and soLO. Then again this is just a theory, obviously, but it is an interesting one at that. :)

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    This seems like pure guesswork. – Valorum Apr 10 '16 at 20:07

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