The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has taken time to explain why he chose not to include the Knights of Ren in the movie. Johnson's first foray into the Star Wars universe has been a controversial one, with hardcore fans taking apart each decision that Johnson chose to make and tearing the movie down. While The Force Awakens was criticized for being too similar to A New Hope, The Last Jedi is being torn apart for being too different from the original idea of the first trilogy. Depending on your views of the movie, Rian Johnson's decision to keep the Knights of Ren seems like a logical choice. There are SPOILERS for The Last Jedi ahead, read at your own risk.
Rian Johnson recently appeared on the Empire podcast to discuss the secrets of The Last Jedi. The interviewer ended up asking the director why the Knights of Ren did not make an appearance in the movie after they had been rumored to. Initial rumors suggested that Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren were going to attack Luke Skywalker and Rey on Ahch-To, which obviously did not happen. Then rumors sprung up that Snoke's Praetorian Guards might be the Knights of Ren, another rumor that proved to not be true.
When it came down to addressing the Knights of Ren, Rian Johnson simply said that there wasn't any room for them in the already densely packed story. There is a lot going on in the story and it could have been forced to cram them in. Instead, they are loosely referred to by Luke Skywalker, but that's it. Johnson had this to say.
"We have a very full movie already there literally was just not room for another element..."
As it turns out, Rian Johnson thought about having the Praetorian Guards as the Knights of Ren, but mentions that they would have been cheapened since they all had to die. Ultimately, the director says that had the Knights of Ren taken the place of Snoke's guards, it would have been a whole other challenge for Rey and Kylo Ren to conquer during the epic fight scene. He explains.
"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."
It seems highly probable that J.J. Abrams will revisit the Knights of Ren in Star Wars 9, but that has yet to be confirmed at this point in time. It will be interesting to see if any of the fan backlash for The Last Jedi has any influence on Abrams' script for the final installment in the new trilogy. When it comes down to it, the Knights of Ren were seen for a brief second in The Force Awakens and were not an integral piece of the story. Rian Johnson's reasoning for not utilizing the Knights of Ren was originally talked about on the Empire Podcast.