During the production of The Force Awakens, a couple pieces of leaked concept art came to be in our possession, but we decided not to share the images at the time out of respect for Lucasfilm. One of the two images eventually found its way into The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens book, but the other has still never seen the light of day. We contacted our artist friend Venamis, who did a sketch recreation of the other piece for us. Both pieces are concept art for the Knights of Ren, still one of the most mysterious groups in the Star Wars universe.
One thing we have discovered over the long design history of Star Wars is that unused concepts rarely ever go unused forever. Most recently, Dave Filoni has proved this point time and again with Star Wars: Rebels, a show that often uses designs directly inspired by the work of the great Ralph McQuarrie. Filoni even used an unused concept from The Force Awakens for the Fifth Brother Inquisitor in season 2 of the show (see below).
As mentioned above, the Knights of Ren are a mysterious bunch, and we really don’t know very much about them. We know from Snoke’s comments to Kylo Ren in TFA that Kylo is their leader, and we see a glimpse of them in the “Forceback” vision that Rey sees in Maz’s castle.
So far, the Knights of Ren haven’t appeared in any other Star Wars material (save for the possibility that the Acolytes of the Beyond in the Aftermath trilogy might be precursors to the order), so it will be interesting to see how they are fleshed out in future installments of the sequel trilogy. It appears that The Last Jedi might just give them a little bit of screen time if fans are right about their speculations that Rey and Luke will be going up against them in the film.
So without further ado, here is Venamis’ sketch of the other piece (click the image for a larger view):
Here are some of the things we observed from the image:
- The second character from the left is definitely a female (notice the female stunt performer in the above photo with Daisy Ridley) and is very similar in design to the Kage warriors from Clone Wars and the character Deathstick, an assassin in the mobile game Star Wars: Uprising.
- The character on the far right seems to have been used for a member of Tasu Leech’s Kanjiklub gang.
- The third character from the left seems to have a blaster for an arm.
- Also, notice that the characters all appear to be human (or near-human) and the unmasked characters look to be middle-aged.
Obviously, the Knights of Ren ended up resembling the art in The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens book more so than this image. But with the knowledge in mind that some of these designs have been and may be used again at some point, we thought it was worth sharing.
It’s possible that Woody Harrelson’s character “Beckett” (above center) from the upcoming Han Solo film may have even been inspired by the character on the left side of the image. Keep an eye out for these designs in the future and share your thoughts and observations in the comments below.
Make sure to check out Venamis’ Instagram page for more awesome Star Wars fan art here.
Since some people thought that we were describing another art piece from the book The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to avoid further confusion, here’s the actual photo that we have:
It has a few different characters from the book.