It looks like the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker will feature several new characters alongside the familiar faces. One group of villains that was already teased in The Force Awakens is the Knights of Ren. Now, it has been officially confirmed that they’ll make an appearance in The Rise of Skywalker.

The news was revealed through an article of Vanity Fair that discussed the production of the upcoming movie. There were multiple behind-the-scenes pictures, during one of which we can see some masked figures standing in the middle of a desert. Check it out below:

Knights Of Ren
The Knights Of Ren standing next to director J.J. Abrams

The Knights of Ren were present in Episode VII: The Force Awakens. They appeared in a vision they Rey had when she was on the planet Takodana. However, it was raining heavily then, and the scene only lasted for a few seconds, so there was not much information to go on. With this new image, we have a much clearer idea of what we can expect. According to Phil Szostak, creative art manager at Lucasfilm, the appearance of the Knights in episode VII was inspired by rejected designs for the main villain Kylo Ren.  You can definitely see the similarities between them.

Star Wars Rey Force Vision Knights Ren
The Knights of Ren were first revealed through a vision that Rey had in The Force Awakens, but the scene was dark and it was raining heavily.

There aren’t any further details about what role the Knights of Ren will play in Episode IX, but we do get to have a look at some new characters. Actress Keri Russell is going to play a new mask-wearing antagonist named Zorri Bliss, Richard E. Grant will become Allegiant General Pryde, a leader of the First Order, and Naomi Ackie will portray a new character named Jannah. In a picture, we can see her riding an Orbak – a type of horse-like creature.

Star Wars New Characters
Naomi Ackie as Jannah riding a horse-like creature called the Orbak next to Finn (John Boyega)

Of course, the old cast including Rey (Daisy Ridley), Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Adam Driver), Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), etc. will return as well. For more information, check out the first official trailer for the movie below:

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is set to come out on December 19 this year. It won’t be the last we’ll be seeing of the Star Wars franchise, however, as another trilogy helmed by Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B.Weiss is already planned for a 2022 release.