The Knights of Ren in cropped Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker key art

Star Wars: Who Are the Knights of Ren?

The Knights of Ren rank among the Star Wars universe’s most mysterious warriors – so, who are they? And what Star Wars media do they appear in?

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Star Wars’ Knights of Ren, Explained

The Knights of Ren in the Pasaana desert in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The Knights of Ren are a cabal of armored, Dark Side-wielding marauders headed up by (you guessed it) Kylo Ren. Kylo Ren didn’t found the group, though. On the contrary, the Knights of Ren first emerged around the same time as Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – years before Kylo was even born. And according to legend, the shadowy outfit’s existence may date back even further. Regardless, the current Knights of Ren line-up’s original leader was an enigmatic warrior named Ren. The Knights worshipped Ren’s red lightsaber – somewhat confusingly named “the Ren” – as part of a half-baked philosophy built on taking whatever they want and generally living it up, Dark Side-style. They’re not Sith (although they ultimately serve Darth Sidious), but they’re all about the shadow.

Related: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Main Actors & Cast List

That said, despite their obsession with the Dark Side, the Knights of Ren aren’t all that skilled at using it. Lacking Jedi or Sith training, they don’t really know what they’re doing. Indeed, heavyweight Force users Darth Sidious, Darth Vader, and Luke Skywalker all rated the Knights’ knowledge and practical abilities poorly. What’s more, Ben Solo (the future Kylo Ren) proved more than a match for Ren himself while still only a Jedi learner. Even so, the Knights of Ren are generally considered a formidable bunch, thanks to their better-developed skills with both melee and ranged weapons. Heck, Sidious relies on their services in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, indicating his appreciation for their overall effectiveness on the battlefield.

What Star Wars Media Do the Knights of Ren Appear In?

To date, the Knights of Ren have only appeared in two Star Wars movies: The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker. Writer-director Rian Johnson explained their absence from the sequel trilogy’s middle installment, The Last Jedi, in a 2018 episode of The Empire Film Podcast. “I guess I could’ve used [the Knights] in place of the Praetorian Guards but then it would feel like wasting them because all those guards had to die,” he said. “And if Kylo had some kind of connection to them it would’ve added a complication that wouldn’t have helped the scene.”

Related: Star Wars: Who Are the Praetorian Guards?

As a result, other media has fleshed out the Knights of Ren’s history, including various Star Wars novels and comic books. The comics have done a particularly good job adding to Knights lore, in titles such as Hidden Empire and The Rise of Kylo Ren.

The Knights of Ren’s exploits in the Star Wars sequel trilogy are currently streaming on Disney+.


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Leon Miller
Leon is a freelance contributor at The Escapist, covering movies, TV, video games, and comics. Active in the industry since 2016, Leon's previous by-lines include articles for Polygon, Popverse, Screen Rant, CBR, Dexerto, Cultured Vultures, PanelxPanel, Taste of Cinema, and more.