We’re a little less than a year away from the release of Star Wars: Episode IX, the final installment of the sequel trilogy. Although it may be a little too early for some, the most hardcore fans are counting down the weeks until the Dec. 20 release, and it’s certainly permissible to start expecting some news from the halls of Lucasfilm, not least of all the title of Episode IX. The official title for The Last Jedi was announced on Jan. 23, 2017, so expecting a similar marketing trajectory we should have our title in just a few short weeks. Typical of both Star Wars films and director J.J. Abrams, the next chapter in the saga of Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and Kylo Ren is shrouded in mystery. The title will give us our first indication of what’s in store for our characters, though as we learned from The Last Jedi, it may not go the way we expect.
While the titles for the George Lucas-directed and scripted Star Wars films were lovingly pulpy, the sequel trilogy has opted for more direct titles that hone in on a central issue. The Force Awakens was pulled directly from Snoke’s line within the film, “there has been an awakening, have you felt it?,” while The Last Jedi is taken from The Force Awakens’ opening crawl. With that in mind, it seems safe to assume that the title for Episode IX won’t seem out of left-field, a la Attack of the Clones, and instead be taken from the opening crawl of the two prior films or a line of dialogue. After mining The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi for clues, these are the titles we think the force is strong with.
The Knights of Ren
One of the biggest hanging question marks over the sequel trilogy is the identity of the mysterious Knights of Ren. When Kylo Ren is sent after his father Han Solo in The Force Awakens, Supreme Leader Snoke says, “Even the Knights of Ren have never faced such a test.” We see flashes of figures who may be the Knights of Ren in Rey’s first force vision, in which she sees Kylo among similarly dressed figures. Based on the context, it seems likely the Knights are a group of dark side warriors working for Snoke, but what happened to them? Is it possible that Snoke broke the Sith tradition of master and apprentice and employed several apprentices other than Kylo Ren? And if so, where have they been all this time? It’s clear that Ben Solo’s new name, Kylo Ren, suggests his membership among the Knights. But who is Ren, and is it just a coincidence that it’s one letter off from Rey? Abrams has shown a penchant for hiding mysteries right under our noses. Perhaps it’s possible that Snoke, who we’ll hopefully learn more about despite his demise, was Ren at one time. Furthermore, the term knights draws an immediate association with Jedi Knights. Perhaps Snoke’s Knights of Ren are a new breed of dark side users that are able to stand against the Jedi better than the Sith ever could.
The Ashes of the Empire
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