Here’s another interesting interpretation of Rey’s vision. Continuing with the idea that the Imperial research facility on Jakku was an extension of the Inquisitors’ experiments on Force-sensitive children, there’s a much more obvious possibility as to who Kylo and the Knights of Ren are fighting: They are fighting the Inquisitors themselves.
Just imagine the figure on the left looking a little more like the one on the right.
This scenario assumes a number of direct connections between concepts introduced in the Rebels cartoon and the back story of Episode VII. The first assumption is that, as suggested earlier, the Jakku facility is engaged in experimenting on Force-sensitive children and Rey is one of them. The facility is guarded by Inquisitors, so Jedi intervention is called for.
I'm just sayin', that is basically the same guy as the one in Rey's vision.
He's even making the same face.
Here’s where things get tricky: Did Luke send Kylo Ren to Jakku or is Kylo acting on his own (or someone else’s orders)? In the vision Kylo appears to be saving Rey from one of the Inquisitors, so whoever sent him, he seems to have good intentions. But are the Knights of Ren his apprentices or his fellow Jedi? For this scenario, let’s assume neither. In the vision, the Knights of Ren all have awesome helmets and are definitely following Kylo’s lead, but he’s the only one who seems to have a lightsaber. So who are they?
Drawing once more from the canon established by Rebels, I think the Knights of Ren may be Mandalorian. Why would I think that? For starters, they all wear armor and helmets that have a very Mandalorian kind of style. They all have weapons both ranged and melee, but none of them appear to have a lightsaber, so there is no reason to assume they’re Jedi or Sith. They look more like mercenaries. But that doesn’t necessarily make the Mandalorian connection. One possible connection suggested in the Rebels show is the Mandalorian clan from which the rebel munitions expert Sabine is descended. She is part of Clan Wren, which is itself part of House Vizsla. The head of House Vizsla founded the Death Watch movement, a violent faction that actually overthrew the Mandalorian government until Vizsla was killed by Darth Maul, at which point Maul took control of Mandalore and command of the Death Watch. Clan Wren was a warrior Mandalorian clan that fought with the Death Watch, and it would seem, indirectly came to serve Darth Maul. Could the Knights of Ren be descended in some way from Clan Wren?
The final fate of Death Watch is unclear, except that they don’t seem to be around in the Rebels time period. The remaining warrior clans think of Death Watch as traitors, but the remaining clans are also loyal to the Empire. This suggests that any surviving remnants of Clan Wren would have no allegiance to the Empire. They also may have some Force training or at least be open to serving a powerful Force wielder since they served Darth Maul.
"I met this great group of guys, Grandfather. I think you'd really like them.
They're all about the helmets. We're basically a helmet club."
The Knights of Ren may be descended from the Death Watch itself, who in their own way were also rebels against the Empire. In this scenario it’s possible that at some point Kylo assumed a similar role to Darth Maul and became leader of the remnants of the Death Watch. Kylo Ren is, as the movie suggests, more of a title indicating his leadership of the Knights of Ren than a name.
Here’s an even more
Could the Knights of Ren be descended from the Mandalorians who abandoned Death Watch to fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi? In Rebels, Sabine says that her mother was with Death Watch. This might be true if her mother were Bo-Katan. Nothing is known about Sabine’s father, but could he have been Obi-Wan Kenobi? Sabine could have been the offspring of Obi-Wan and Satine, who was obviously in the same house as Bo-Katan. In that case Sabine may have assumed her mother was Death Watch even though in reality she didn’t know her mother. Sabine was raised in an Imperial Academy, so she was probably taken from her family the same way Finn would later be abducted as a child to serve the First Order.
Sabine’s questionable lineage aside, it is fun to consider the Knights of Ren as a direct extension of the group that broke away from the Shadow Collective and fought with Kenobi. That would give the Knights of Ren a historical reason to ally themselves later on with Obi-Wan’s last apprentice, Luke Skywalker. That link would afford Ben Solo the opportunity to join the Knights of Ren and become their leader.
Just a thought.