In what might be the biggest comic book news yet out of SDCC 2019, Marvel and Lucasfilm announced a Kylo Ren origin book coming in December, just ahead of the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in theaters.
The panel gave very little information beyond its title and its writer: Charles Soule. Additionally, we’ll apparently learn more about the Knights of Ren, the mysterious faction that has been haunting the backstory of the Sequel Trilogy’s prime bad guy, Kylo Ren, since The Force Awakens. According to a tweet from Soule, the Knights of Ren are going to play a big role in the new miniseries.
In a short time, Soule has established himself as one of the best Star Wars comic writers of all time. He has worked on a number of very good Star Wars comics, including Poe Dameron and Lando (a delightful book in which he nailed Billy Dee Williams’ voice), but his best work in the galaxy far, far away is undoubtedly Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith.
Soule had the unenviable task of following Kieron Gillen’s excellent Darth Vader series (it was basically Star Wars Suicide Squad in the best way), who almost single-handedly brought back all the menace and pathos that the prequels had leached out of the character (I say “almost single-handedly” because Rogue One did some work there, too, but if you don’t believe me, please see the last six pages of Darth Vader #6 for confirmation). And rather than follow Gillen’s stellar work, Soule went back to some of Vader’s first missions as a Sith Lord. He kept the unstoppable badass force of nature tone of the character, but placed Vader firmly in the broader post-Republic galactic narrative and was essential in expanding our canon understanding of the dark side of the Force. Seriously, there isn’t much like Soule’s Vader in the current canon.
The timeliness of this new Kylo Ren story is nothing short of impeccable. Episode IX is scheduled for release on Dec. 20. And if you watch the trailer very closely, you can see Ren fighting against one of his fellow Knights early on. The movies and the comics haven’t ever really had that kind of synergy before.