If you're someone who has returned to SWTOR for one of the "Knights of" expansions and already had more than one old character in the wings to take into the new content, you may have been wondering which class is the most suited for this purpose, based on how the new story plays out, as well as taking into account practical considerations such as what happens to your character's companions.
Well, I am here to give you the answer to this question! Or my own interpretation of it, anyway. Please note: I haven't actually completed the entire story on all of the eight base classes yet, but I think I've seen enough to be able to make an educated judgement. If you disagree with my choices, feel free to let me know in the comments! Also, be warned: Each class's analysis may contain spoilers for their origin (class) story. There will also be vague references to some things that happen in KotFE / KotET, but nothing I would consider a spoiler. Beware of actual spoilers in the comments though!
1. Jedi Knight
I think it's hard to deny that the knight was the class that KotFE and KotET were pretty much written for. KotFE and KotET largely focus on the Force ghost formerly known as the Sith Emperor, who was nothing but a mysterious background character for most of the story content of the base game... unless you were a knight. The knight is the only one who gets up close and personal with the Emperor in the 1-50 story, in a tale of epic struggle and revenge with culminates in you penetrating the very heart of the Sith Empire and striking down your foe on Dromund Kaas itself... or at least the body he was inhabiting at the time, as we find out later. Who else would be better suited to take him on after he returns? There's just no question about it. Sadly, no knight companions play a major role in the story (only T7 makes an appearance at all), but that doesn't outweigh just how tailor-made the storyline is for this class.
2. Sith Inquisitor
While the Emperor doesn't feature in the Sith inquisitor's class story, this class's origin tale is one of constant struggle. You want to make your mark upon the Empire and gain power, but you keep coming up against people more entrenched in the system than you, who try to manipulate and kill you. Also, there are those pesky Force ghosts. Guess what happens in KotFE / KotET? After having attained the lofty rank of Dark Council member by the end of your class story, being frozen in a block of Carbonite for five years is merely another setback of the type you're used to encountering, and after that, it's back to business as usual! Annoying ghost in your head threatening your life? Check! Proving your strength in the Force against mightier and mightier opponents? Check! Building a power base with the goal of rising to the highest possible rank? Check! I haven't seen this particular outcome myself yet, but I imagine that the ending of KotET must feel pretty damn satisfying as a Sith inquisitor, even if none of your old companions are officially by your side. (Two come back as Alliance alerts.)
3. Sith Warrior
Next to the knight, the warrior is the one other class who has a background with the Emperor in the base game... though unlike the knight, the warrior never actually meets him. (EDIT: I've been reminded that you do talk to his "Voice" once, but the point remains that he's quite distant compared to how personal things get with the knight.) You mostly erve as the Emperor's loyal enforcer via proxy, which puts you in an... interesting position in KotFE / KotET. As a bonus, one of the male warrior's potential love interests, Vette, returns as part of the main storyline, and by 5.2, only one warrior companion will remain missing. Good times! The reason I rate this below the Sith inquisitor despite of the personal connection to the Emperor is that things can actually get a bit awkward depending on your roleplaying angle. On my own warrior I was happy to offer my services to the Emperor's new incarnation, and at first there were some dialogue options that reflected this too... but gradually, they just disappeared, so that my character started being snarky and dismissive of her "boss" for no apparent reason. If you don't want to be friends with the Emperor however, jump right in and have fun!
Much has been said about how the "Knights of" stories feel a lot more tailored towards Force users than your regular old heroes, and I strongly agree. Still, thinking about the non-Force users, the one that deals with the events of KotFE / KotET the best in my opinion is the trooper. Maybe I'm biased, but regardless of how you played your trooper while levelling up, they are used to waging war and taking charge to make things go their way while leading others into battle, and all the Force stuff aside, this is a lot of what KotFE / KotET is about. You may not necessarily want to rule the galaxy, but whether you've previously played the selfless hero of the people or the ruthless enforcer, you're used to fighting for a cause.
Also, with Elara Dorne being slated to make a return in 5.2, the trooper will be the first class to get all their old companions back. Okay, strictly speaking we can't re-recruit Tanno Vik, but who misses him anyway? At least we know what he's been up to.
5. Jedi Consular
I imagine that many would contest my decision to place a Force-using class below a non-Force user, but I do think it's justified at this point in time. Of all the Force users, the consular is definitely the least well-suited to the role of being the Outlander. Sure, you're a special snowflake in the Force all right, but from 1-50 you've mostly been a peace-keeper, diplomat and uncoverer of secret plots. Your enemies in the two "Knights of" expansions are remarkably resistant to negotiation, there's no real surprise in them wanting to kill you, and most of the time things come down to brute force. It's not that you can't do it, but it's not really your style.
Anyway, the main reason I've ranked the consular below the trooper right now is that not a single consular companion returns during the KotFE / KotET storyline, and even through the optional Alliance alerts you only get one of your original five companions back. Being a consular in a post-KotFE world is a lonely life. If they ever get all their companions back too, I would rank them above the trooper.
6. Imperial Agent
As we're getting closer to the bottom of the list, things start to become increasingly awkward. The agent is used to operating in the shadows, what's this about being thrown into the spotlight as some sort of "chosen one" and military leader?! I suppose the upside is that the agent is used to politics and to powerful Force users trying to make his or her life a misery, so that part fits. Also, two returning agent companions play significant roles in KotFE / KotET, which makes for some nice opportunities for some class specific dialogue.
7. Bounty Hunter
The bounty hunter loves to amass power and glory, but only for themselves, and they have little interest in fighting for a cause. In fact, the bounty hunter's story is one of someone who doesn't like to be tied down. Why they would actually want to lead the Alliance instead of setting off to do some actual bounty hunting or pretty much do anything else to further their own personal agenda instead of championing someone else's cause is a bit of a mystery. At least two bounty hunter companions also return during the story and get some good lines.
Last and definitely least in this case, we have the smuggler. I suppose if you took your smuggler fully dark side, aiming to become an underworld boss, there is an argument to be made for you being a powerful figure and having some interest in taking charge, but like the bounty hunter you're more out for yourself than for any grand cause, so why a smuggler of all people would lead the Alliance is a bit... eh. There's also hardly anything more pathetically out of place than a blaster-whipping scoundrel repeatedly going up against extremely powerful Force users in supposedly epic one-on-one duels. To top it off, no smuggler companions feature in the KotFE / KotET storyline, and only two out of five return as Alliance alerts. As much as I hate to say it (as the basic smuggler story is one of my favourites): taking them into the current content is just not very rewarding at all.
It's worth noting that the above ranking is based on taking an existing character into KotFE / KotET. If you use a token from the Cartel Market to start at a higher level, many of the concerns listed here won't really apply, since you don't have a detailed backstory and can't really miss companions you never interacted with. In that case I would simply say: Force using classes > non-Force users.
Agree/disagree? Share your opinion in the comments!