Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson reveals why his film did not include the Knights of Ren. First mentioned (and seen) in The Force Awakens, the group falls under the command of Kylo Ren and is one of the more mysterious elements remaining in the sequel trilogy. Fans hoped the Knights would spring into action in Episode VIII, but despite early rumors suggesting they'd face Rey and Luke on Ahch-To, they were nowhere to be found. They're merely referenced in dialogue, with Luke Skywalker saying Ben Solo absconded with a handful of fellow students when he burned the Academy down.
The absence of the Knights of Ren disappointed many viewers, some of whom felt as if Johnson had retconned the original plans of Force Awakens helmsman J.J. Abrams. However, Johnson had a very good reason for choosing to exclude the Knights from The Last Jedi. He didn't want the story to get more crowded than it already was.
On an Empire podcast that detailed secrets of The Last Jedi, Johnson touched on the Knights of Ren, saying there wasn't a logical place for them in the movie:
“We have a very full movie already there literally was just not room for another element...I guess I could’ve used them in place of the Praetorian guards but then it would feel like wasting them because all those guards had to die. And if Kylo had some kind of connection to them it would’ve added a complication that wouldn’t have helped the scene...truth is I just didn’t see a place for them in the movie.”
Johnson is referring to the jaw-dropping action sequence in which Rey and Kylo Ren team up to battle the Praetorian guards after Kylo murders Supreme Leader Snoke. If it were the Knights of Ren instead, it certainly would have been a bit strange. Whereas the guards were loyal to Snoke and served to protect him, the Knights side with Kylo. Considering how little we know about the Knights (read: virtually nothing), seeing them fight to the death against their leader with no context could have confused audiences. It's arguably for the best Johnson held off on using them, allowing Abrams the opportunity to work them into Episode IX if he so chooses. During the interview, Johnson expressed interest in seeing what becomes of this plot thread.
It stands reason to believe the Knights of Ren will finally get their moment to shine when Episode IX premieres. Kylo Ren is now established as Supreme Leader, meaning he'll need his own security force to keep watch over his throne room. Additionally, each new Star Wars film makes sure to introduce a few new characters, and with Snoke and Captain Phasma both perishing in The Last Jedi, the villains may need a little extra punch to boost their forces. It would be fascinating if a couple Knights were afforded some characterization, and they weren't all just faceless antagonists for Rey to mow down. If the sequel trilogy concludes without anything meaningful from the Knights, then they'd truly be wasted.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019