The Knights of Ren remain one of the biggest secrets of the sequel trilogy. Many fans, including myself, believe that their origins have been hinted at in the Aftermath book trilogy and the latest release, Empire’s End continues dropping hints. This article will contain very light spoilers from the book, but no plot details.
The first Aftermath book introduced to a group known as the Acolytes of the Beyond. They were creepy but non-violent, and in their one chapter, they purchased a red lightsaber they planned to destroy in order to return it to its master. They were under the impression that it was Darth Vader’s lightsaber but that can’t be confirmed. In Aftermath: Life Debt, they became violent. They attacked a police precinct Corellia and stole yet another red lightsaber. Their respect for Darth Vader was still highlighted and they were known to leave graffiti throughout the city that claimed, “Vader Lives.”
Aftermath: Empire’s End revealed a lot more about the organization. The chapter takes place on Devaron, where the Acolytes are planning to attack a New Republic outpost. This attack is just one of many that will happen simultaneously throughout the galaxy. We learn that one of their leaders in non-other than Yupe Tashu, a former advisor to Emperor Palpatine. He honors the Acolytes with Sith relics such as ancient weapons or masks. The Acolytes themselves have all received visions of some sort. Dreams of the Darkside and ancient Sith Lords. These visions are very similar to the one’s the Emperor claimed to have towards the end of the galactic civil war. I believe they are connected with Snoke. These visions or dreams have caused the Acolytes to be intensely zealous and loyal to the Darkside. However, one member is shown to have doubts as Tashu offers her the mask of Viceroy Exim Panshard, which was made of meteoric metal which somehow contained the screams of those he slaughtered. When the doubtful Acolyte puts the mask on the darkness sweeps over her and her fears vanish. All of this is very intriguing but it still doesn’t tell us why they could become The Knights of Ren.
All of this is very intriguing but it still doesn’t tell us why they could become The Knights of Ren, so I’ll be speculating from this point forward. The Sith relics, weapons, and mask are all reminiscent of the very brief shot we saw of The Knights of Ren. I specifically want to talk about the masks. In Life Debt and Empire’s End, a lot of importances are placed around masks. The Acolytes are known to wear them but they have to be earned as we’re told in Life Debt. When Tashu awards the mask of Panshard, he claims that masks have the power to gather darkness. Their masks are also meant to be worn in honor of Darth Vader, so let’s think about that for a second. The Acolytes of the Beyond are possibly corrupted by masks that have gathered power in the Darkside of the Force. Then nearly thirty years later we have a group of mask-wearing, strange weapon wielding people that follow around Kylo Ren, who also wears a mask, worships Darth Vader, and even has the mask of Dark Vader. Once more, it appears the Acolytes don’t appear to have any abilities in the Force. So it makes sense that Kylo Ren could easily become their leader despite being a very new member. The actual heir of Darth Vader, who has a deeper connection to the Force and the Darkside then they will ever know or understand. What do you think? Are the Acolytes of the Beyond the precursors to The Knights of Ren or are they something else entirely? Leave a message in the comments below.