After being briefly introduced in a flashback in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Knights of Ren are poised to make their return to the big screen in a major way in this year's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Shrouded in mystery since their debut four years ago, not much is known about the villainous group of warriors other than an unspecified connection to Kylo Ren, the new leader of the First Order as of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
A popular fan theory had surfaced online from Reddit alleging that the Knights of Ren were all various clones of Luke Skywalker, potentially through the recovered hand he had lost dueling Darth Vader in Cloud City during The Empire Strike Back. More intriguingly, the theory posits that Rey is a lost Knight of Ren, which would support Kylo's assertion in The Last Jedi that the young Jedi Knight is a "nobody" while also accounting for his emotional reaction upon learning of her existence in The Force Awakens. The final bit of evidence cited in the theory is Rey's ominous vision in the cave on Ahch-To during The Last Jedi, the mirrored images of herself a subconscious warning of her fellow clones still on the loose.
As interesting as the theory is, more tantalizing and, perhaps, more plausible, is the possibility that, if the Knights of Ren are clones, perhaps they are actually clones of the most famous figure linked to them: Kylo Ren himself. The obvious connection by sharing names aside, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that if the mysterious group derive their genetic material from the First Order's Supreme Leader and conflicted fallen Jedi Knight.
Not much is known about the Knights of Ren other than that they were evidently with Kylo Ren when he rebelled against the teachings of Luke Skywalker and massacred his fellow apprentices' training years before the events of The Force Awakens. While it was presumed that the Knights were fellow students similarly seduced to the Dark Side like the former Ben Solo, there is nothing that explicitly points to this.
Additionally, clones have played a major role in the Star Wars Universe, particularly the prequel trilogy where the Old Republic used an army of clones from famed bounty hunter, Jango Fett, to turn the tide of the Clone Wars against the Separatists, later serving as the basis for Imperial Stormtroopers during the rise of the Galactic Empire.
After Finn defected from the First Order to help Poe Dameron escape, Kylo also Ren expressed a vocal preference for clones for their unwavering obedience in comparison to the current crop of Stormtroopers.
With the legacy of the Skywalker family reportedly being the subject of The Rise of Skywalker, the power of the Dark Side will likely be explored, particularly with the apparent return of Emperor Palpatine following the Sith Lord's demise in Return of the Jedi. A clone squad of Kylo Rens or other famous Dark Jedi could possibly provide Palpatine with his means to return from the grave or force the combative Kylo to literally face himself.
The latter point could also explain why Kylo Ren is seen skewering a Knight of Ren in the first trailer for Episode IX. There was speculation as to whether the scene was a flashback sequence or signs of a present falling out between the First Order and the villainous faction but, if the Knights are indeed clones of Kylo, the Dark Jedi attacking an iteration of himself wouldn't necessarily be out of character.
There is no-one filled with more self-loathing in the Star Wars Universe than Kylo Ren (other than his idolized grandfather, of course.) The characters' intense inner conflict has been shown prominently in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi and, as Kylo becomes increasingly morally compromised, it could lead him to go on a personal vendetta to burn his dark legacy to the ground to reduce all external traces of himself.
The true nature of the Knights of Ren, including their identities, are still unknown by fans, inviting widespread speculation. With The Rise of Skywalker serving as the culmination of all previous eight main installments in Star Wars' Skywalker Saga, the anonymous group being revealed to as clones -- of Luke, Rey, Kylo or someone else -- would be a nice acknowledgment of the legacy of the prequel trilogy.
Directed and co-written by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Keri Russell, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher, with Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant. The film arrives Dec. 20.