In May, Vanity Fair released a series of promotional photos for Disney's upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the third installment to the most recent trilogy and the end to the Skywalker Saga. Now, thanks to the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary, fans have more insight into the enigmatic Knights of Ren.
The Knights of Ren were first introduced to the big screen in J.J. Abrams (Star Trek: Into Darkness) 2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When Rey (Daisy Ridley) touches Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) old light saber, she plunges into a vision. She sees a handful of men, black garb and weaponry, standing in the rain surrounded by slaughtered bodies. They appear to be led by Adam Driver's (BlacKkKlansman) Kylo Ren with his familiar red light saber. Other than a brief moment in the The Rise of Skywalker teaser, we haven't been given any more background on the mysterious knights, but that hasn't stopped us from speculating. In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Luke told Rey, "The temple was burning. [Kylo Ren] had vanished with a handful of my students . . . and slaughtered the rest." Many assume this "handful of students" may have become The Knights of Ren.
The cover of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary features one member of the Knights. He wears a dark getup similar to Kylo himself. His outfit is dusty, rough and covers every bit of his skin while allowing for movement in a fight that Stormtrooper armor doesn't. His metal helmet is scratched and worn as it hides his face. His weapon of choice is a vibro-scythe blade that looks like he may have made it himself. J.J. Abrams has always preferred the practical effects of the original trilogy to the CGI-heavy prequels, and it shows.
The new Visual Dictionary adds detail to the beautiful promotional images featured in Vanity Fair in May. Some of the photos gave us a practical look at The Knights on set in a desert valley in Jordan. Men in ragged uniforms and weapons pieced together with scraps surround Abrams, and just like the scene from The Force Awakens, there are six Knights in total.
The differences in tone and story of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi was one of the most debated topics of any fandom in recent years. So as Abrams takes up the reins again, he's going to have a lot of threads to tie together. Not least of which is The Knights of Ren. Although the new images solidify LucasFilms' ability to make practical effects appear authentic, it doesn't answer our many questions. What are the Knights of Ren? Are they for or against Kylo now? Did they transform Ben Solo or vice versa? At least Abrams is aware of this. Saying to Vanity fair,
"[The challenge] wasn't just to make one film that as a stand-alone experience would be thrilling, and scary, and emotional, and funny, but one that if you were to watch all nine of the films, you'd feel like, Well, of course-that!"
Check out the new images below, and continue to follow us for all your Star Wars updates. The promotional shoot and interview was conducted by vanity fair.