The Knights of When, Where, Why and Who?
SPOILER WARNING: If you’re trying to avoid story beats for The Last Jedi, get outta here. Seriously. Go see the movie. It’s been a week. What’re you doing clicking on Star Wars articles the week after a new movie drops if you haven’t seen it yet?
Ever since their first mention in The Force Awakens, we’ve been incredibly curious about the mysterious group of bad (?) guys known as The Knights of Ren. The Last Jedi tackled most of the new ideas the previous film introduced head-on (in some cases, maybe a little too aggressively) but The Knights of Ren? Not even a mention.
One of the more cryptic scenes in The Force Awakens was Rey’s vision in Maz Kanata’s castle, which gave us our first glimpse of Luke, and a shot of Kylo Ren with a black-clad entourage. The Last Jedi gave us a heap of context for the vision of Luke, that the wizened cyborg wasn’t just sitting by a campfire with Artoo, but instead watching his Jedi Academy burn.
A lot of Star Wars Episides VII and VIII have been left on the cutting room floor, with entire scenes and characters being excised in the interest of time, leaving fans to carefully analyze concept art (as seen above) and production photos. While shots shown in trailers being left out of finished films isn’t unheard of, the imagery from Rey’s vision seems too important for this to be the case. In the first full, non-teaser trailer for The Force Awakens, we saw the shot of Luke, and in the second trailer released, we saw The Knights of Ren.
Upon viewing The Force Awakens in its entirety, we barely saw much more. Was this deceptive marketing, or long-con foreshadowing? If one of the first shots we saw in trailers for The Force Awakens wasn’t explained until The Last Jedi, perhaps the Knights of Ren shot will be unpacked in Episode IX.
What’s worth noting about the images in Rey’s vision is that we don’t know when they take place. Given that Luke’s fireside moment was explained through flashbacks, our glimpse of The Knights of Ren could take place in the past, but given the mystical nature of The Force, this could also be a hint at what’s to come.
What we do know is that substantial time has passed between the destruction of the Jedi Temple and the The Knights of Ren’s rainy day massacre. For starters, The Last Jedi’s flashbacks showed that Ben (not yet Kylo) was still using a blue saber, whereas Kylo’s kitted out with his full mask and red blade. Kylo’s elevator temper-tantrum in TLJ showed us the end of his mask, but it’s possible to make a new mask.
In terms of lore, we know very little about The Knights of Ren. Supreme Leader Snoke refers to Kylo as “Master of The Knights of Ren,” though considering Kylo reports to Snoke, the chain of command gets a little muddled. Will The Knights be upset that Kylo murdered the Supreme Leader, or will they accept their new self-proclaimed ruler? What’s their relationship to The First Order? Furthermore, are The Knights of Ren even alive by the time the events of The Last Jedi occur? Maybe Kylo killed them off in some perverse rite of passage, like murdering his own father? Were they secretly Snoke’s Praetorian guards? Let’s hope not.
A lot of people are mad at The Last Jedi for answering questions posed in The Force Awakens, in some cases perhaps too definitively, but thankfully, there are still plenty of mysteries. The most exciting thing about The Knights of Ren is that they’re bad guys, presumably Force-using ones, and there are a bunch of them.
One of the biggest limitations put in place by the Prequels was The Rule of Two, mandating that only two Sith Lords could exist at any given point. That’s all very mysterious and intriguing within the canon, but from a moviegoer’s perspective, you know what else would be cool? A lightsaber duel where someone has to fight off a while bunch of Sith Lords at once.
What do you think? Any solid theories out there?