Since their first appearance in The Force Awakens, the mysterious figures known only as the “Knights of Ren” have sparked a myriad of theories among Star Wars fans. The only person to refer to them by name is Supreme Leader Snoke. He calls his apprentice, Kylo Ren, the “Master of the Knights of Ren”, and it is through Rey that audiences actually see them when she touches the lightsaber of famed Jedi Luke Skywalker and has an unexpected vision. She sees a group of black armored figures flanking Kylo Ren, who wears his signature mask and wields his red lightsaber. Whether this vision represents the future or the past, it nevertheless introduced audiences to some of the most intriguing characters in the recent Star Wars films.
Since not much is known about the Knights of Ren, the internet erupted in a series of theories as to their identity and purpose, some plausible, others less so. The novelization of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi reveal to us that they are an elite order of warriors, possibly Force-sensitive, and that they existed prior to Kylo Ren being appointed their leader by Supreme Leader Snoke. How long they have existed, in what numbers, and what their purpose is remains shrouded in mystery, and we can only hope that Episode IX will be the film that finally reveals their destiny. Culling information from fan-uploaded videos, trending news reports, fan forums, and message boards, these are some of the most grounded, and also surprising, fan theories about the order of the Knights of Ren, the most intriguing group of combatants outside of the Jedi and the Sith.
20 COULD BE TRUE: THEY WILL SUPPORT KYLO REN IN EPISODE IX
For all the fans wondering what happened to the Knights of Ren after their brief appearance in Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson explained that there simply wasn’t enough room in his movie to include them except in flashbacks, and that he had a feeling their presence would be imminent in the next film directed by J.J. Abrams.
Express.co.uk has reported that scenes involving Adam Driver practicing complex fighting choreography with “several young men” has already started, with filming having already begun in July. Hopefully it means we’ll see the Knights of Ren in earnest as the Star Wars saga comes to a close in Episode IX.
19 TOO FAR OUT THERE: THEY DON’T EXIST YET
When Rey touched Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber in The Force Awakens, she saw an image of Kylo Ren flanked by the mysterious Knights of Ren, and it was indeterminable whether or not the imagery was from the past or the future. Reddit user AvivaStrom brought forth a long and elaborate theory that the image is actually of the future, a future that Kylo Ren also saw when he had a similar experience touching Darth Vader’s helmet.
Perhaps Kylo shared his prophecy with Snoke (or Snoke read his mind), prompting Snoke to mock Kylo for being “Master of the Knights of Ren”, a grandiose goal he believed Kylo couldn’t achieve. Will they end up serving a purpose in Episode IX we're not privy to yet?
18 COULD BE TRUE: THEY’RE LUKE’S FORMER STUDENTS
The reason why Luke Skywalker turned his back on the Jedi Order is because he believes he failed to redeem his nephew, Ben Solo. Ben was supposed to learn to become a Jedi under his uncle’s tutelage, but after evil was perceived to lurk within him, he ultimately became the victim of a self-fulfilling prophecy to join the Dark Side.
An article on Inverse sheds light on the theory that the Knights of Ren are in fact Luke’s former pupils. Through flashbacks in The Last Jedi, we learn that Ben destroyed Luke’s Jedi Temple, leaving with only a handful. Since we see a glimpse of him flanked by several mysterious figures wielding red lightsabers, it’s not a stretch to wonder who they are.
17 TOO FAR OUT THERE: THEY’RE ELITE SITH WARBOTS
Thousands of years before the events of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the Sith were numerous and had access to technology that eventually became lost to time. Ancient warbot droids were utilized by the Sith to do their security bidding and reinforce their dominance of the galaxy.
Reddit user Reddit__PI decided that since the Sith warbots were known for melee and range fighting, that the glimpses of the Knights of Ren seen in The Force Awakens matches their description. Though most were deactivated, some managed to survive, making it feasible Snoke would have come across one and used it as a prototype for Kylo Ren’s team of warriors.
16 COULD BE TRUE: THEY’RE NOT SITH
By the time that Snoke became leader of the First Order, he wasn’t a Sith Lord. He didn’t bear the title of “Darth”, an honorary rank given to Sith that means “Dark Lord” and is the equivalent of “Jedi Knight” when they have completed their training to their Master’s satisfaction.
Snoke’s apprentice, Kylo Ren, also doesn’t bear the title of “Darth” like Vader, Maul, and so many before him. He bears the name “Ren”, which Snoke refers to when he addresses him as the “Master of the Knights of Ren” in The Force Awakens. This implies the Knights of Ren are not Sith, but something else entirely, especially since there can only be two Sith at any given time.
15 TOO FAR OUT THERE: THEY’RE GRAY JEDI
There was a concept that arose in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now known to fans as Star Wars Legends) that spoke of Gray Jedi, a group of individuals that felt the Dark Side and the Light Side of the Force were too restrictive and thus followed their own path between the two.
Comicbook.com explains that the the Knights of Ren could in fact be some of the first real representations of the elusive Gray Jedi, who up until now have only been somewhat shown in individuals like Qui-Gon Jinn, a Jedi Master whose Force teachings brought him into conflict with the Jedi Council. Given Kylo Ren’s conflict between Light and Dark, the Knights of Ren could be similar.
14 COULD BE TRUE: THEY HAVE DESIGNATED ROLES
The Knights of Ren aren’t simply a cohort with the same rank of “knight”, but rather a group of highly specialized individuals. The Art of Star Wars series of books examines the concept art of each Star Wars film, and The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes a look at the knights and their ensembles, breaking down the function and role of each knight.
The book shows examples of five Knights of Ren, each in a variation of black, with unique equipment befitting their designation. They are: The Heavy, The Armory, The Rogue, The Sniper, and The Monk. What is most interesting is despite their different titles, they each wear a mask bearing a striking resemblance to the one worn by Kylo Ren.
13 TOO FAR OUT THERE: LIKE THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE
Star Wars has had a strong history of incorporating themes from ancient mythology, feudal Japan, and medieval symbolism. George Lucas worked with noted historian Joseph Campbell to pick aspects of mythology that would best suit his space saga.
Tom Percival at Unilad has determined that the imagery and symbolism in the latest trilogy of movies is very medieval in origin, right down to Kylo Ren’s lightsaber having a cross hilt design. He posits that the Knights of Ren reflects King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, which would also imply they hold council and Arthur (in this case Kylo) heeds their judgments before making any military decisions. It would also imply a sense of altruism that’s unfounded in the current films.
12 COULD BE TRUE: THEY’RE SEPARATE FROM THE FIRST ORDER
The hierarchical structure of the First Order shares many similarities to its inspiration, the Galactic Empire. It’s lead by a megalomaniac, Supreme Leader Snoke, who is as bent on galactic domination as Emperor Palpatine. He has as his enforcer Kylo Ren, a Dark Side user that glorifies Darth Vader, Palpatine’s second in command.
Vader was able to directly impact military proceedings, in the same way that Kylo can intervene in First Order business. However, he acts as an operative outside of the First Order, and does not answer to its higher ranking officers (especially General Hux). Therefore, it would stand that the Knights of Ren, whom he is “Master of” according to Snoke, would operate outside of the First Order as well.
11 TOO FAR OUT THERE: THEY’RE ACTUALLY MEMBERS OF ROGUE ONE
Perhaps one of the most far-fetched theories about the Knights of Ren postulates that they are in fact the six members that made up Rogue One in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Agus Aguzzi posted several pictures to Reddit explaining how the heights of characters in Rogue One were identical to those of the six mysterious members of the Knights of Ren, and even had similar weapons.
Except that everyone involved in the Rogue One mission was lost at the end of the movie. The movie is a standalone film that has mostly nothing to do with the other films, and even if one or two members had survived, they would be middle-aged by the time Kylo Ren is selected to be their leader.
10 COULD BE TRUE: THEY HAVE A SPECIFIC NAMING SYSTEM
It’s not a coincidence that Kylo Ren has the last name of “Ren”, except that it’s not a last name. In the same way that Anakin Skywalker acquired the title of “Darth” when he became “Darth Vader” at the end of Revenge of the Sith, Kylo adopted the “Ren” title when he joined the Knights of Ren according to The Last Jedi novelization.
It also states that after the fall of Emperor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) and Darth Vader, the Sith presence was eliminated from the galaxy, so with the rise of the Knights of Ren, those that joined their ranks received the title of “Ren” as an honorific in the same way “Darth” was used for new Sith.
9 TOO FAR OUT THERE: REY IS A MEMBER
In The Force Awakens, when Rey touches Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber and has a vision of the Knights of Ren on a rain-soaked field standing over several bodies, she doesn’t know if the vision is of the future or of the past. Closer inspection of the figures in the vision has inspired an intriguing rumor.
Qui-Gon Josh, a Youtuber, known for his Star Wars theory videos, claims that one of the figures standing behind Kylo Ren in the vision is particularly femal-looking and wielding a staff. Rey’s weapon of choice is a staff, and given Star Wars has a strong history of foreshadowing the potential of good characters to become evil, Rey may have seen her destiny as a member of the Knights of Ren.
8 COULD BE TRUE: THEY MAY BE THE GOOD GUYS
As Obi-Wan Kenobi brought up in Return of the Jedi, the truths we cling to are often greatly affected “by a certain point of view”. Events and individuals can be clouded by the perspective of the person experiencing them. Obi-Wan was referring to Darth Vader betraying and taking out Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker, by becoming a Sith and casting aside his Jedi identity.
The Cantina user Rufus2fist posits that using that analytical lense, Kylo Ren may perceive himself as “doing good” in the galaxy, and bringing order to it in the same way that Vader envisioned he would do with Luke Skywalker. This Knights of Ren, from that point of view, may be doing the galaxy a great service, and in fact be the “good guys”.
7 TOO FAR OUT THERE: THEY BECAME SNOKE’S PRAETORIAN GUARD
So far, The Knights of Ren have appeared in two ways; either in Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens, or mentioned in flashbacks as part of Luke Skywalker’s retelling of the circumstances surrounding the rise of Kylo Ren and his absconsion with Luke’s students. But were they actually visible in The Last Jedi, as Snoke’s red Praetorian Guards?
Dingus Bringus, a Youtuber and Star Wars theorizer, made a video outlining why they thought the Praetorian Guards might be who the Knights of Ren became after Kylo became Snoke’s apprentice; since Snoke created the Knights of Ren to begin with, it follows he’d keep some to protect him. However Rian Johnson has dismissed the theory entirely by stating he had no way to fit them in.
6 COULD BE TRUE: THEY’RE FORCE SENSITIVE
Prior to mention of the Knights of Ren in The Force Awakens, the only beings with the title of “knight” were the Jedi Knights, Force-sensitive guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy. Since Kylo Ren, former pupil of Luke Skywalker is the “Master of the Knights of Ren” according to his master, Supreme Leader Snoke, then it seems plausible that the Knights of Ren are all Force-sensitive too.
Annlyel James posits that they’re Force-sensitive because in a flashback from The Last Jedi, Luke tells his new disciple Rey about a former pupil, Ben Solo, burning his temple and leaving with a “handful of students” before he became Kylo Ren and continued to lead them.
5 TOO FAR OUT THERE: THEY’RE FORMER MANDALORIANS
The Cantina, regular virtual meeting ground for rabid fans on starwarsnewsnet.com conceived of an interesting theory: the Knights of Ren are actually former Mandalorians. The Mandalorians were ancient warriors, the likes of which Jango Fett and his son Boba Fett belonged to, wearing particular armor by association.
In Star Wars Rebels, Darth Maul once defeated the leader of House Vizla and rejoined his Mandalorian Clan. Sabine stated that she was a member of Clan Wren, and the thought was that Maul lured her to the Dark Side and trained her as the first of the Knights of Ren, using the name of her House.
4 COULD BE TRUE: DIDN'T TAKE OUT LUKE'S STUDENTS
In Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens, she sees a series of dark figures, with one figure standing prominently over slain bodies in a rain-soaked field. In The Last Jedi, she learns from Luke Skywalker, that his former pupil Ben Solo destroyed his Jedi temple and took a handful of students with him. Since Luke is the only Jedi Rey encounters, it’s presumed the Knights of Ren wiped out the rest.
Movieweb reveals that Pablo Hidalgo, head of Star Wars Story Group stated that in the script for the film, the scene depicts Kylo Ren “standing over a fallen warrior”, with the “warrior” being identified as a “clan leader”, which implies that the Knights of Ren committed serious crimes against other groups, not just Luke’s students.
3 TOO FAR OUT THERE: THEY’RE CLONES OF KYLO REN
Clones have been the backbone for Star Wars mythos ever since Princess Leia name-dropped the “Clone Wars” in A New Hope. Clones made the first ranks of the Grand Republic Army, and became the first stormtroopers. In the annals of Star Wars Legends, there are novels that focus on Emperor Palpatine’s attempt to cheat death by making clones of himself.
Reddit user Reddit__PI explains that the Knights of Ren could be clones of Ben Solo. Snoke lured him to the Dark Side, established him as his apprentice Kylo Ren, and then created an army of superior warriors in his image. Kylo gets to wield the unique lightsaber, and together they would be enough to stop Luke Skywalker or his new apprentice, Rey.
2 COULD BE TRUE: THEY WERE CREATED BY SNOKE
According to the Star Wars Knights of Ren official Wikipedia page, the Knights of Ren were an organization of elite warriors that Snoke created. In the absence of any Sith after the fall of Emperor Palpatine and his apprentice, Darth Vader, Snoke created the Knights of Ren to be his enforcers outside of the purview of the First Order.
When he decided on Ben Solo to be his apprentice, he lured him to the Dark Side with promises of great power and the ability to beat Luke Skywalker, the man Ben felt had betrayed him as a Jedi. It would have made Kylo Ren the last appointed member of the Knights of Ren, and their handpicked leader.
1 TOO FAR OUT THERE: REN TOOK THEM ALL OUT
The Star Wars Speculation section has given rise to a variety of interesting and far fetched fan theories surrounding the latest trilogy in the Star Wars Saga. Many of the long shot theories involve the Knights of Ren, considering they’re some of the most mysterious figures in the trilogy at the moment.
Reddit user Makeup_momma suggested that perhaps Kylo Ren had to end the Knights of Ren to prove his loyalty to Snoke. When Snoke suggested that Kylo Ren take out his his father to prove his loyalty, Kylo didn’t hesitate, though Snoke said it would be one of the most difficult challenges he’s faced. Aside from, as Makeup_momma suggests, wiping out his peers.