The December 2015 premiere date of J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens draws ever closer, and the past few days have seen a wealth of new information about the highly anticipated 30-years-later continuation of the Star Wars saga. Among the mysteries introduced in the film's first teaser trailer was the sinister, black-clad figure wielding a crossguard lightsaber.
We now know that the character is actually Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver (Girls) and one of the film's main villains. A member of a faction called the Knights of Ren, Kylo's real last name remains a mystery, as recent details about the meaning behind certain characters' names suggest the true identities of Kylo and other newcomers, like Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley), will be integral to the movie's overall plot.
By now we know that following the events of Return of the Jedi, the Galactic Empire has been reorganized into the military force known as the First Order, but we still don't know just where Kylo and the Knights of Ren fit into the overall scheme. According to J.J. Abrams, Ren's mask - which appears to be optional and not necessary to his survival - is meant as "a nod to the Vader mask," which could mean that the Knights of Ren might be an offshoot of the Sith Lords.
Now, Indie Revolver (via CBM) has released some leaked concept art. The images are said to have been initial mock-ups for Kylo, but now "have been re-appropriated and used as the Knights of Ren." This is according to Indie Revolver's sources, but nothing has been confirmed.
Many of these designs are much more Vader-like than Kylo Ren's current masked incarnation and echo some Imperial costumes from the original trilogy. Some of the mask designs seem android-like, which may (or may not) be a clue to what kind of individuals make up the Knights of Ren. The ever-present lightsabers seem to confirm that the collective is made up of Force-users of some kind.
Could we see more of the Knights of Ren in The Force Awakens beyond Kylo? When we meet him, the character is said to be not as "fully-formed" as Darth Vader was at the opening of the original trilogy, and if any of the Han or Luke offspring theories actually prove true when it comes to Kylo, this might mean placing the character in a position where he sees his choice of allegiance tested.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in U.S. theaters on December 18, 2015, followed by Star Wars: Rogue One on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX does not have an official release date yet.
Source: Indie Revolver