Rian Johnson has been accused of changing J.J. Abrams' plan when he didn't include the Knights of Ren in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but what if they were only absent because they wouldn't actually be formed until Star Wars: Episode IX? After a brief tease in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans expected the Knights of Ren to get more attention in The Last Jedi, but they weren't anywhere to be seen.
Some have criticized Rian Johnson for ignoring what J.J. Abrams set up by ignoring the Knights of Ren, but according to Johnson, there simply wasn't room for them in in the plot of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. There was no time to add any subplot that would utilize them, and while he considered using them as Snoke's Preatorian guards, that would have resulted in them all dying, so he opted to not reference them at all.
Leaving the Knights of Ren out of both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi may make it awkward to finally bring them into the plot of Star Wars: Episode IX, but if it turns out the glimpse of them in Rey's "Forceback" vision was actually a glimpse of the future, then it just might work.
- This Page: There Were Probably Never Plans to Actually Use the Knights of Ren
- Page 2: How the Knights of Ren Could Be in Kylo's Future
There Were Probably Never Plans to Actually Use the Knights of Ren
One of the biggest complaints some fans had against Star Wars: The Last Jed was that it seemed to abandon a number of things J.J. Abrams set up in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What those criticisms miss is that many of the things Abrams introduced in The Force Awakens were merely part of his famous "mystery box," existing only to create intrigue, or mask the movie's big twists, particularly the reveal that Kylo Ren is actually Ben Solo.
Naturally, Ben Solo can't go by his real name or it betrays the reveal in the movie, so he's given a new name, like Darth Vader. Only he's not a Sith so he can't be "Darth Kylo." Instead, they gave him the name Kylo Ren and invented the Knights of Ren as a backstory to where the "Ren" title came from. The only explicit references to the Knights of Ren in canon are in Star Wars: The Force Awakens when Snoke calls Kylo the "master of the Knights of Ren" or the shot of them in Rey's vision.
Once it's revealed that Kylo is actually Ben Solo, both the mask and the name are suddenly less important. Rian Johnson has Ben literally destroy the mask in the opening minutes of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, never even mention the Knights of Ren, and Rey and other characters refer to him as Ben.
There simply isn't any purpose to the Knights of Ren anymore, and, as Rian Johnson pointed out, there's really no place for tehm in the story. Abrams seems to agree, because he said he said he thinks they would make a great spin-off movie, implying he didn't see a place for them to be fleshed out in Star Wars: The Last Jedi or Star Wars: Episode IX.
Ultimately, like Ben Solo's mask and alternate name, there wasn't much use for the Knights of Ren once we know his true name and origin story, but that doesn't mean they can't still have a future in Star Wars: Episode IX.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019