This post contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett “Chapter 4.”
“Credits can buy muscle, if you know where to look.”
Tatooine’s new Master Daimyo has plenty of money, but not enough warriors to stand against the Pykes. Fortunately for him Fennec Shand knows where they can buy fighters. Which ones, though? Star Wars features countless mercenary groups throughout the galaxy far, far away. Boba Fett could hire any of them. He could also turn to his own kind. Either Mandalorians or his fellow clones, the now unemployed stormtroopers. However, there’s one group with ties to the criminal underworld who would make for a “force-ful” ally on Tatooine. And more importantly, they would completely change the relevance of The Book of Boba Fett. Because Fennec Shand’s muscle could be the Knights of Ren.
Long before she was Boba Fett’s partner in crime (lord-ing), Fennec Shand stood as one of the galaxy’s most feared bounty hunters. Her career dates back nearly two decades before A New Hope, to when the Galactic Empire began. She did more than well for herself under Palpatine’s reign. Her stature as a formidable mercenary grew as she worked for some of the most powerful crime syndicates in the galaxy. When the Empire fell, many of her employers fell with it. As the five major criminal syndicates suddenly found themselves in a fight for survival. A reality The Book of Boba Fett has already begun to explore with the fall of the Hutt Clan.
Fennec’s experiences during the Galactic Empire unquestionably brought her into contact with the most powerful crime syndicate, Crimson Dawn. Not every bounty hunter breaks into the small circle of the galaxy’s best. Even if she never worked for Darth Maul’s organization (and there’s no official record she did), as a respected and well-known mercenary she would have been well aware of Crimson Dawn. Including how Crimson Dawn worked with one of the most fearsome groups anywhere, the Knights of Ren.
The Star Wars sequel trilogy did not provide much backstory for the Force-sensitive, Dark Side-using Knights of Ren. Official books and comics have fleshed out their history. The group as we know it emerged from the Unknown Regions during the last years of the Empire. During the Galactic Civil War they worked with Crimson Dawn against a common enemy, Darth Sidious.
Qi’ra assumed control of the syndicate following Darth Maul’s death. And she trusted the Knights of Ren with her biggest secret. She was not focused on building her own criminal empire. She sought the destruction of the other syndicates and the Sith Lords who ruled the galaxy, Palpatine and Darth Vader.
Her intentions were pure even if her tactics and allies were not. The Knights of Ren were not bound by any of her morality. By the time of the New Republic the group’s path of destruction was well known. They did not need Ben Solo to strike fear wherever they went. Because while they might not have been as powerful as the Sith, thanks to their knowledge of the Force they were as dangerous as any group in the galaxy. Exactly the type of mercenary force you’d want to hire to help with a nearly insurmountable task. Which is what Boba Fett faces in trying to stop the much larger and powerful Pyke Syndicate alone. There might be no group that can offer him the muscle he truly needs more than the Knights of Ren.
But it’s not just the group’s past that points to their possible appearance on The Book of Boba Fett. What we know of the galaxy far, far away’s future does too.
We don’t know what will happen on The Book of Boba Fett. We do know the Pykes will soon cease to exist. There is no future for the Imperial Era’s five major syndicates. They will all be eradicated or replaced by the time Snoke emerges. We explained why when we covered how the show has already laid a path that leads to the return of Crimson Dawn’s leader, Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra. A major, deadly force is coming for the Pykes. And of all the many possible mercenary groups Fennec might hire, none are as connected to the future events of the franchise like the Knights of Ren. Since no group will be as important to the coming rise of the First Order.
And that’s why—more than even their many connections to Fennec, Qi’ra, and the criminal underworld—the Knights of Ren might be the most logical choice to provide Boba Fett’s muscle. Through four episodes it’s not clear why this particular story is one worth telling with a big-budget Disney+ series. The Mandalorian, which launched The Book of Boba Fett, introduced a small green padawan who might represent the future of the Jedi Order for hundreds of years. It also set in motion the “dark science” return of Palpatine. As well as the possible unification for one of Star Wars‘ most important planets, Mandalore. It’s importance and place in the franchise is unquestioned. What is it about Boba Fett’s own personal story that matters nearly as much in the grand scheme of the franchise?
That won’t be a question if the Knights of Ren arrive on Tatooine. Their story leads to the sequel trilogy and therefore the fate of the entire galaxy. From Ben Solo and his parents, to Luke Skywalker and the Jedi, to the First Order and the end of Palpatine, the Knights of Ren will play a role far bigger in future events than the sequels actually showed. But that’s exactly what The Book of Boba Fett might do. And if it does the series will show why it truly matters.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.