Let’s set aside the fact that Star Wars: The Last Jedi proved so divisive that one indignant “hero” took it upon themselves to release an incomprehensible 46-minute edit that stripped every female character out and just agree that Rian Johnson’s film left us with a lot of questions. What was the deal with Snoke? How do Force ghosts even work anymore? And perhaps the biggest question of all:
What happened to the Knights of Ren?
The Knights of Ren were introduced in The Force Awakens as a mysterious group of First Order warriors commanded by Snoke and Kylo Ren. Left off-screen in that film, there was expectation that The Last Jedi would expand upon and actually show the characters, but they were never even mentioned. So what’s going on with the Knights of Ren?
Well, Rian Johnson recently offered an explanation on the Empire Podcast as to why the Knights of Ren aren’t in The Last Jedi:
“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.”
Whether or not you agree with Johnson’s decision, his explanation is at least somewhat reasonable and also confirms that the Praetorian guards were not the Knights of Ren. This also leaves the door open for J.J. Abrams to bring them back for Episode IX, which would make it even less of a deal that they’re nowhere to be found in The Last Jedi. With Kylo Ren now running the First Order, it would certainly make sense to get the gang back together as some sort of hit squad tasked with hunting down the surviving members of the Resistance. Whatever happens with the Knights of Ren, at least we now know that they weren’t killed off and could finally make an appearance in this trilogy’s third installment.