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'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker': New stills show the return of The Knights of Ren

Jessica Waugh Monday 30 September 2019

With less than three months to go before its release, information surrounding 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' has been coming through at a snail's pace. The film that marks the return of J.J. Abrams to the galaxy far, far away is shrouded in mystery, especially in the wake of the mess made by Rian Johnson in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'. The trailer that was announced during the D23 Expo triggered hundreds more theories as opposed to clarifying anything about this universe: whether Rey is now a Sith; whether J.J. Abrams will start with a clean slate after Johnson's directorial contribution to the franchise; whether Anakin will return; whether C3PO has been Darth Plagueis all along...Although the 'Super 8' director has denied that he will avoid trying to "repair" the previous episode, everything from the title to the return of Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine reeks of nostalgia for a time before 'The Last Jedi'.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

Amongst this mountain of theories, Empire magazine has surprised us with two new stills from 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'. In the first, we can see Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) with a wrinkled sort of countenance whilst dozens of imperial solders fall to the ground behind him. From this we can deduce that this wave was caused by Kylo, or perhaps that he is trying to maintain balance through the force, or even that he's made the kamikaze decision to sabotage his own empire.

The Knights of Ren in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

In the second photograph we get another look at the Knights of Ren, who we saw during Rey's flashback in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'. Some of these knights, according to the comics, occupied high positions under the emperor Palpatine and, like Kylo, feel a great affinity towards Darth Vader and the Dark Side. The fact that Rian Johnson omitted this group that will appear once more with the return of J.J. Abrams doesn't seem to suggest that the 'Lost' creator has an organic universe in mind for this trilogy.

The limits of good and evil

Empire magazine poster, designed by Paul Shipper

As well as these photos, Empire magazine has created this spectacular double cover of Kylo and Rey facing off against each other for its November edition, and another exclusive for subscribers with a unique piece of artwork of them both done in the retro style of artist Paul Shipper.

Not long is left before our questions about the future of the franchise are answered. 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' is released in UK cinemas on the 19th December and will be a goodbye to this trilogy as well as the final farewell to Leia Organa. May the Force be with it when tickets are available to pre-order.

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