'Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker's Sith Troopers May Not Follow Kylo OR Palps

There's another Sith Lord with an 'Episode IX' connection that you're not thinking of.

At long last, the mysterious red Stormtroopers from that leaked poster have been officially revealed. Behold the Sith Troopers. Though their role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is still under wraps, there’s speculation that they might share a connection with Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren. The Sith’s involvement in the First Order also seems to solidify a resurrected Emperor Palpatine’s involvement behind the scenes now more than ever.

Will the Sith Troopers be fighting for Kylo or Palpatine or some other Sith entirely? Could Darth Maul be involved? Here’s everything we know about the Sith Troopers and what they might mean for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Sith Troopers Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker SDCC
Sith Trooper merchandise from 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' will be available at SDCC.

The Knights of Ren and the Darth Maul Connection

For the first time since the Clone Wars, the Stormtroopers have gotten a new color or armor, but what do those red outfits mean? Making Star Wars, which is usually accurate, reports that the Sith Troopers “only answer to Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren.” Not only do we trust Making Star Wars, but it just makes sense that the Sith Troopers follow Kylo Ren exclusively — and not just because of their placement right below him in the leaked Episode IX poster.

Taking things one step further, it’s possible that if the Sith Troopers follow the Knights of Ren, there may also be a Darth Maul connection. Remember that photos of the Knights released by Vanity Fair, it showed one of them waving a spear with the exact same symbol we saw from the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate in Solo: A Star Wars Story. That movie revealed Maul to be the true mastermind behind Crimson Dawn, so could the old Sith Lord somehow be connected to these Sith Troopers?

It’s possible, though probably a bit of a stretch considering the other non-Kylo Ren option.

Team Palpatine or Team Kylo?

This possible connection to both Darth Maul and the Knights of Ren also ties right back to reveal that Emperor Palpatine might be the sequel trilogy’s ultimate villain. After all, Emperor Palpatine mentored Darth Maul in the ways of the Dark Side and that influence may have carried over to the Knights of Ren and the First Order. But where do the Sith Troopers’ loyalties lie?

Palpatine’s return may have possibly meant Snoke was a puppet all along, ultimately leaving control of the Sith Troopers to the Emperor. However, Kylo has been portrayed as a radical character whose connections to the Dark Side and the First Order seem to run far deeper than we know despite his apparent struggle between the Light and Dark Sides of the Force. Knowing the Knights of Ren will play a bigger role in the film and won’t just appear in one of Rey’s visions might mean that Kylo’s knowingly been working for Palpatine this entire time — or at least been influenced by him for years.

It sounds impossible considering fans’ hopes that the man formerly known as Ben Solo will be redeemed. But since he had been seen conversing with Darth Vader skull in The Force Awakens, the idea of Kylo working with both Maul and Palpatine is realistic enough without taking away from a potential sacrifice.

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Is the Emperor commanding those new Sith Troopers?

Additionally, Qi’ra was revealed to have been working with Darth Maul at the end of Solo, and if fan speculations about her being Rey’s mother come true, then the link to the Sith Troopers could come to an intriguing conclusion. All of these tie-ins might finally come full circle in Episode IX, giving Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker an even more satisfying ending than we ever expected.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.

Media via Lucasfilm, Ultimastar