Star Wars fans got a first glimpse of the Knights Of Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Kylo Ren’s squad briefly popped up in Rey’s lightsaber-induced ‘Force-back’ sequence, a tantalisingly brooding shot of the mysterious crew surrounding the sequel trilogy’s corrupted villain. And that was it – they weren’t referred to again, and didn’t even get a passing mention in Rian Johnson’s sequel The Last Jedi. But with filmmaker JJ Abrams back on board for Episode IX – The Rise Of Skywalker, the Knights Of Ren are back in the picture – and Empire has a world exclusive new image of them, as seen in the upcoming November issue.
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise Of Skywalker – exclusive Knights Of Red image
The crew’s return is emblematic of Abrams’ approach to the final instalment of the Skywalker Saga, picking up the baton from Johnson’s middle film, nurturing seeds he first planted in The Force Awakens, and bringing the whole thing home. And while Johnson took several plot threads – Rey’s parentage, Snoke’s fate – in surprising yespornplease directions that some fans are still unhappy with, Abrams had no qualms with incorporating Johnson’s choices.
“I never found myself trying to repair anything,” he tells Empire. “If I had done VIII, I would have done things differently, just as Rian would have done things differently if he had done VII. But having worked on television series, I was accustomed to creating stories and characters that then were run by other people. If you’re willing to walk away from the thing that you created and you believe it’s in trustworthy hands, you have to accept that some of the decisions being made are not gonna be the same that you would make. And if you come back into it, you have to honor what’s been done.”
Empire – November 2019 – Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker covers
Read more about the genesis of Episode IX in Empire’s world exclusive The Rise Of Skywalker issue, arriving on newsstands on Thursday 3 October, and available to pre-order online here. There are two covers to collect – one featuring Kylo Ren, the other featuring Rey. Want both? Order them together in a discounted bundle here.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker arrives in UK cinemas this December.