That Girl with the Staff

ReyEver since Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters, fan speculation has run rampant about many details of the film’s plot. One of the more interesting things about TFA is that it leaves a lot of details unexplained, such as how and why Ben Solo fell to the dark side, what Luke Skywalker has been up to, Finn’s origins, and so on. This leaves a lot of material for future books and movies to explore, and makes for potentially fun storytelling. But the question that is probably on the most minds is… who is Rey? It’s clear that there’s much more to Rey’s backstory than what we learn of her in the film, due to her unusual strength in the Force. As a break from the glut of music posts I’ve written lately, I thought I’d unpack some of the more prevalent fan theories out there and give my take on them.

Rey is Han & Leia’s daughter and thus Kylo/Ben’s younger sister. This is the theory that I kind of hope isn’t true, mainly because Han & Leia spend a lot of time around her in the movie, so why wouldn’t they bring it up? Kylo also doesn’t seem to recognize her when he is interrogating her, although he does show up in the flashback sequence that she experiences on first touching Luke’s lightsaber. It also wouldn’t speak highly of them as parents if they gave birth to her and then just dumped her on Jakku for no apparent reason. Kylo is supposed to be in his early thirties in the movie, while Rey is 19. That means that Kylo was around 10 or 11 when Rey was born. I’m not sure Han & Leia would have exiled Rey in order to protect her, because they probably didn’t know yet that Ben was going to fall to the dark side. I don’t think this one has a lot of support, so I’m not sure it’s true.

Rey is the reincarnation of Anakin Skywalker. The biggest criticism of this theory is that we’ve never seen anything like this happen in the Star Wars universe yet. It hasn’t been established that the Force, or anything else for that matter, can cause anyone to be reincarnated. But Anakin set a new precedent himself, having been born of a virgin and believed to have been conceived by the will of the Force. So what’s stopping him from being reincarnated, especially since no one as of yet has been as strong in the Force as he was pre-immolation? Maybe he wanted to come back and get things right this time. Rey could also have been conceived by the Force as Anakin was, and her parent(s) didn’t have the same calm reaction that Shmi Skywalker did when Anakin was born, causing him/her/them to leave her on Jakku.

The ambiguous look Luke gives Rey could indicate a connection between them.
The ambiguous look Luke gives Rey could indicate a connection between them.

Rey is Luke’s daughter. This one has a bit more legs than the first two. The look Luke gives Rey when she encounters him on the as-yet-unnamed “first Jedi Temple planet,” could be described as one of recognition, like he knows her or has seen her before. It could even be described as having a bit of shock, like he never expected to see her again. Why would he leave her on Jakku, then? The most likely explanation there is that Luke’s fledgling Jedi Order had a similar edict against romantic relationships that the Old Republic Jedi did. Luke, in a moment of weakness, conceived Rey, then dumped her on Jakku because he was ashamed of his mistake. That doesn’t paint him in a much better light than Han & Leia in the above theory, but at least there’s some rationale behind it. Perhaps he knew that she was strong in the Force and that she’d be able to be self-reliant and provide for herself, as she showed she was doing on Jakku. If true, this would also ignite speculation on who her mother is, and would leave open the possibility of a Mara Jade-like character being introduced into the new canon, which would make many fans (including this one) happy.

One fan theory that has some evidence in The Force Awakens posits that Rey is Obi-Wan Kenobi’s granddaughter.

Rey is Obi-Wan Kenobi’s granddaughter. I actually really like this idea. Obi-Wan had a story in the now-invalidated Legends canon where he fell in love with fellow Padawan Siri Tachi. Why couldn’t they bring that plotline into the new canon? This also has a decent chance of being true, as we hear Obi-Wan’s voice in Rey’s flashback sequence twice, once with Alec Guinness’s voice, saying her name, and once with Ewan McGregor, saying “Rey, these are your first steps.” That could end up being a fairly big clue, although we hear a lot of voices (like Yoda’s) and see a lot of people in that sequence, so it could be a red herring.   It could also open up a lot of interesting storytelling with Kenobi’s backstory, as well as the identity of his offspring that becomes Rey’s parent.

Rey is just a completely new character and we’re obsessing about this way too much. The Star Wars movies have largely centered around the Skywalker family up to now, but what if Rey has no relation to any of them? I admit, I think I like this theory the best, because it could offer the most interesting potential explanations for everything. Rather than a retread of “I am your father!” it could offer the chance for Star Wars to go in a new direction, which many fans have argued is sorely needed post-TFA. I would agree. Though it could disrupt the narrative structure of the core nine episodes of Star Wars, it might be the best way to go.

Have any other theories about who Rey might be? Let me know in the comments!


One comment

  1. I enjoyed the various theories on Rey’s relationship to the characters. I really like the idea that she is Obi-Wan’s granddaughter. That is great way to weave him back into the story. I also like the idea that she might be Luke’s daughter. Her role in recovering Luke’s light saber would have a poetic ring. The beginning of the father-daughter reunion.

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