Discharge from the US Marine Corps inspired Star Wars villain Adam Driver to give acting one last shot, according to reports.
As red lightsaber-wielding baddie Kylo Ren, the 32-year-old is set to be immortalised in the action figures and video games that will fill stockings this Christmas.
However the Hollywood star's career had a rocky start - and may never have come into being - had a mountain biking accident not forced him out of the military, he told The Telegraph.
After growing up in Mishawka, Indiana, with dreams of becoming an A-lister, Driver auditioned for a place at the top flight Juilliard School for acting in New York.
But he was unsuccessful and, with reportedly lacklustre school grades to fall back on, decided to drive to Los Angeles in a bid to get noticed. After two days he packed up and returned home penniless.
He told the newspaper how then, along with many young Americans, the September 11 attacks had filled him with patriotic verve and he signed up to join the Marine Corps.
After nearly three years in the forces and on the eve of deployment to Iraq he suffered a fractured sternum after falling from a mountain bike. The injury meant he was unfit for service, leading to his honourable discharge in March 2004.
"It still bothers me that I didn't finish what I started," he told the newspaper.
Driver was faced with the difficult task of readjusting to civilian life and chose to re-audition for the Juilliard School, this time securing a place.
After graduating he took parts in plays and small roles in several Hollywood films before he was cast as Adam Sackler in the hit US show Girls.
Playing the evil Ren is his biggest role to date. After having to supply his own costumes for parts in his early career the actor described the scale of the Star Wars set as "interesting".
The film's release will mark the first time in years that Driver and his co-stars, ordered to give nothing away, will be allowed to discuss the blockbuster - a moment that is both "exciting" and "terrifying".
"It's been three years so far, of not being able to talk about it. But I think it's fun [to see] a film and discover it with everyone else as opposed to knowing everything beforehand," he told the newspaper.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released to cinemas on December 17.