This Old-School Sith Fan Probably Started the Knights of Ren 

Before Ben Solo changed his name to Kylo Ren and betrayed Luke Skywalker, the Knights of Ren might have already been kicking around the galaxy for years. New details from the canon novel Star Wars Aftermath: Empire’s End contain possible connections between the mysterious Acolytes of Beyond, Kylo’s gang of Dark side warriors from The Force Awakens, and a background baddie from Return of the Jedi.

Writing for Screenrant, Marc N. Kleinhenz noticed that one of the Emperor’s cronies in Return of the Jedi plays a big part in Empire’s End. Remember those creepy guys who were just chilling with Palps in Return of the Jedi, whispering Dark side sweet-nothings in his ear? Yep, one of those guys —Yupe Tashu — is a big-time mover and shaker in the Acolytes of Beyond. This group is all about collecting Sith artifacts and making sure the legacy of the Sith Lords survived after the deaths of Darth Vader and the Emperor.

The new book reveals that initially Yupe Tashu and his buds were all about destroying old Sith lightsabers so that the lightsabers might join their masters in the afterlife. Weird. Anyway, in Empire’s End it seems like Yupe and the Acolytes of Beyond decide it’s cool to keep a few of these sabers and artifacts — like Darth Vader’s helmet — around. If you add a few decades to these events, then the cobbled together sizzling lightsaber wielded by Kylo Ren might come from these old relics. Plus, Kylo certainly had to get that melted Vader helmet from these guys.

Since Yupe Tashu dies in Empire’s End (I know, so sad, we hardly knew him), the working theory is that his demise creates a slot for Supreme Leader Snoke to take over the Acolytes of Beyond, which will eventually become the Knights of Ren. While this might seem to contradict the theory that the Knights of Ren were started by Kylo himself — and are compromised of ex-Jedi pupils — the two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive.

Because all the new Star Wars novels are considered “canon,” there’s a double-edged lightsaber with this new info. On the one hand, the connection could be clear: The Acolytes of Beyond totally played a part in the rise of the Knights of Ren and Snoke. On the other hand, they may just be a bunch of weirdos who like to collect stuff associated with the Dark side of the Force, making them the goths of the Star Wars universe.

Hopefully, the Knights of Ren will make a little more sense when Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi opens on December 15, 2017.

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