The Knights of Ren are some of the most mysterious figures in Star Wars canon, so what do we already know about the Rise of Skywalker villains? Ever since they were first mentioned in The Force Awakens, fans have been curious to discover more about the group, but they frankly haven't had much of a role to play in the modern films. Given everything else those movies have had to cover (including concluding character arcs for Han Solo and Luke Skywalker), that isn't the most surprising turn of events. Still, many were hoping that before the sequel trilogy wrapped up, the Knights of Ren would have a meaningful part to play in the Skywalker saga.
It took four years and two movies, but that's finally about to happen. One of the many Rise of Skywalker revelations contained in Vanity Fair's cover story on the movie was confirming the Knights of Ren's role. A behind-the-scenes photo featured director J.J. Abrams going over a scene with a group of costumed actors, who will bring the Knights to life in Star Wars 9. Obviously, they will be fleshed out considerably in The Rise of Skywalker, but there are little bits and pieces fans know about the Knights right now. Here, we go through all of that information.
Kylo Ren Created & Led The Knights of Ren
During the scene in Force Awakens where Kylo learns his father Han is now an active part of the conflict, Supreme Leader Snoke tells his troubled apprentice, "Even you, master of the Knights of Ren, have never faced such a test." That line of dialogue firmly establishes the former Ben Solo as the Knights' leader. Snoke didn't get into much more detail than that, but it can be assumed from the context that Kylo and the Knights have gone through the wringer as a group, proving their worth and allegiance to the dark side of the Force.
Whatever tests the Knights faced together are a mystery for now. Perhaps some of these will be alluded to in Star Wars 9. Once the film is released, it wouldn't be surprising if any of the canon materials, like a novel or comic book miniseries, covered one of their more notable missions. Right now, given Lucasfilm's penchant for secrecy, they want to keep a potentially explosive element like the Knights under wraps as much as possible. It's one thing to say they're in the film, but everything else is a secret.
The Knights of Ren Were Seen In Rey's Force Awakens Vision
The Knights weren't just mentioned in The Force Awakens, they were also seen. They make a brief appearance in Rey's Force vision sequence, which takes place after she touches the Skywalker lightsaber on Takodana. In one shot, the full group of seven (including Kylo) stands in the rain. Kylo is positioned in the middle with his lightsaber drawn, and all of the other Knights have their own unique weapons and armor.
Rey's vision jumps all over the place in regards to the Star Wars timeline. She sees things that most definitely took place in the past (Cloud City, being abandoned by her parents on Jakku, etc.) and also future events (confronting Kylo Ren on Starkiller base). That makes it difficult to peg when this shot takes place - which was probably the idea. It'll be interesting to see if that scene is recreated in any way for Star Wars 9 and if so, what the context is.
The Knights of Ren May Be Luke's Other Fallen Jedi
In The Last Jedi, the Knights were nowhere to be seen, but they might have been referenced. When telling Rey the story about what happened at his training temple, Luke reveals that after Kylo turned, he fled with a handful of Skywalker's other students (after killing the rest). While it's not explicitly stated, the implication is that these students went on to become the Knights of Ren, following Kylo's path.
Since so little is known about the Knights, it's hard to validate that hypothesis right now. There's no confirmation that any of the other Knights were Force sensitive, and Kylo is the only one from the Force Awakens shot holding a lightsaber. Still, the safe money at this point in time would be on the Knights being other fallen Jedi pupils. This will surely be revealed in Episode IX - especially if they take part in any of the action.
The Knights of Ren in Star Wars 9
As mentioned above, it's now known the Knights of Ren will have their biggest onscreen role in Star Wars 9. In Vanity Fair's photo spread, the group was on location in Jordan, which was used for the desert planet Pasaana. It's unknown what brings the Knights there, but Pasaana was featured heavily in the film's teaser trailer, so it seems to be an area of great importance for both the Resistance and the First Order.
Longtime fans know that Star Wars has an infamous history with cool-looking costumed villains ultimately being underwhelming in the films (hi, Boba Fett and Captain Phasma). More often than not, they're used for advertising purposes and then disappoint viewers. The hope going into The Rise of Skywalker is that the Knights of Ren will reverse that trend and have some standout moments that leave audiences wowed. After the praetorian guards took center stage in the now-famous throne room sequence in Last Jedi, it'd be nice if the Knights took that up a level.
Kylo May Fight The Knights of Ren in Star Wars 9
One of the more interesting shots in the Star Wars 9 trailer was that of Kylo Ren charging at an unknown foe and taking him/her down in battle. Viewers immediately started speculating who that unfortunate person might be. Initially, Vanity Fair seemed to reveal a very interesting nugget when their coverage identified Kylo's opponent as one of the Knights of Ren - meaning Kylo fights at least one of his fellow Knights in the film.
Shortly after, the Vanity Fair piece was updated to remove any mention of Kylo battling a Knight. This may have been an honest mistake on the outlet's part, or the powers that be at Disney ordered a correction to preserve a surprise. Without much official information to go off of, it's difficult to say for sure. But that slip-up nevertheless makes the Knights' proper debut all the more exciting when The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019