Hello everyone, and welcome to the Sarlacc Pit! This week I will be discussing something that I haven’t before, and, depending on the reception this post receives, I may or may not do in the future. “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” was the first Star Wars movie to hit theaters since 2005, and shattered box office records and raked in tons of cash. Introducing new characters and bringing in fan favorites from the original trilogy, “The Force Awakens” was a huge success with fans old and new. However, since this was the first in what is called the “Sequel Trilogy” (ST), viewers were left with questions that won’t be answered until at least 2017, or later. One major question concerns the background of the movie’s lead, Rey. Several fan theories have been put forward to explain who her parents are, so for this week I will analyze some of the most prevalent fan theories, what the evidence is for them, and what my opinions are on the theories. These theories are not in any particular order, and they will have massive spoilers for “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” as well as spoilers for Star Wars: Bloodline, Marvel’s Star Wars, and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” If you haven’t at least watched “The Force Awakens,” then shutdown your computer right now and watch it!
Rey was born about 11 years after the Battle of Endor. At a young age, she was left in the care of Unkar Plott, a scavenger on Jakku, a desert planet in the Western Reachers of the galaxy. Growing up, she always believed that she was left on Jakku by mistake, and waited patiently for her parents to return. However, there is evidence that her memories were tampered with around the time she was left on Jakku as she never gives a last name, and the helmet she keeps at her home has the name “Ræh” written on the side, as the former owner of the helmet was Rebel Captain Dosmit Ræh. This implies, to me at least, that her memory was tampered with and she has very little, if any, memories of who her parents actually are or where she comes from.
Theory #1: Rey’s Parents Don’t Matter
At Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana, Kanata tells Rey that her parents are never returning to Jakku, and that she should search for Luke Skywalker instead. Some fans believe that, since Maz Kanata is Force-sensitive, she knows that Rey’s parents are either dead or just do not care about their daughter, and that instead of wasting her time waiting for something that will never happen, Rey should follow her destiny, find Luke Skywalker, and gain training in the Force. Others say that this is evidence that Rey’s father is Luke Skywalker, but since he is in hiding Rey needs to go find him. I would personally be fine with Rey’s parents not being a big deal, let’s walk away from the Skywalker family drama and let a truly new Jedi take on the problems of the galaxy. However, Star Wars has always had a habit of making connections between movies (i.e. C-3PO was built by Anakin Skywalker, Boba Fett’s father was the genetic template for the clones during the Clone Wars, Forest Whitaker’s character in “Rogue One” fought alongside Ahsoka Tano in the Clone Wars, etc.), I think that we will see that Rey’s parents are important in the Star Wars saga. A major argument against this theory is that Rey seems too strong in the Force to not have some sort of Jedi heritage. However, there has never been an established link between genetics and Force abilities, as the Jedi Order prohibited relationships. Therefore, most Jedi (with the exclusion of Luke Skywalker) had parents who were not themselves Jedi.
Theory #2: Rey Kenobi
“Rey…These are your first steps.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”
This theory is an interesting one. We know by the speed at which Rey was able to grasp high-level Force abilities that she is definitely strong in the Force. We also know that Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber seems to have an affinity for Rey over Ben “Kylo Ren” Solo, Anakin’s grandson, as while both Rey and Kylo Ren attempted to use the Force to pull the lightsaber to themselves, the Force-attuned weapon went to Rey. This theory implies that both of these facts can be attributed to a Kenobi bloodline and that during Kenobi’s exile on Tatooine he was no longer beholden to the rules of the Jedi Order prohibiting relationships, so he found a girl, fell in love, and had a kid that he presumably did not know about, who then had a daughter named Rey. Since Kenobi mentored Anakin and kept his lightsaber for 19 years this would explain the lightsaber’s affinity for Rey. Furthermore, when Rey first touches Anakin’s lightsaber, she has a vision in the Force, and in the background Obi-Wan’s voice can be heard saying the above quote.
I think this theory is mostly wishful thinking as it would be pretty cool to see a grudge match between Darth Vader’s grandson and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s granddaughter, but there are numerous problems with this theory. First of all, in Rey’s Force vision, Yoda’s voice can also be heard saying “it’s energy,” and I am pretty certain Rey is not related to Yoda (although, who knows?). Also, Kenobi was a pretty fervent rule-follower, and from what we can tell of his time on Tatooine from Marvel’s Star Wars series, it does not look like he ever turned his back on the Jedi Order and its rules. Finally, in “The Clone Wars,” Kenobi confessed his love to Duchess Satine Kryze just before she died, saying that he would have left the Order for her. I think that after all Kenobi had been through, that if he would ever have left the Order and their rules behind it would have been then. Sure it would be neat to see Kenobi get back at Darth Vader through a grandchild fight, but I find this theory highly unlikely.
Theory #3: Rey Solo
There is plenty of evidence that Rey may be the lost child of Han and Leia, but there is also plenty that casts doubt on this theory as well. First of all, in Legends canon, Han and Leia had a set of twins, one boy and one girl. So many fans of Legends stories still hold out hope that the same might happen in current canon (although the ages of Ben and Rey do not hold up). There are also moments throughout Rey and Han’s interactions that show Han acting very fatherly toward Rey, almost by instinct. Furthermore, in the script for “The Force Awakens,” when Leia and Rey first meet toward the end of the movie, Leia greets Rey with a “matronly hug.” Finally, when Kylo Ren is told that a girl from Jakku assisted BB-8 in escaping from the First Order, Ren responds in a way that implies that he may know a girl on Jakku, perhaps his sister?
I will be totally honest, this is a fan favorite of all the fan theories, probably the hardest pushed theory, so if I upset you in this next little bit then I apologize. First of all, Han Solo being killed in “The Force Awakens” essentially prevents us from getting a satisfactory reveal on this theory. Sure, there’s still Leia so we could get a good mother-daughter reveal scene (“Rey….I am your mother”), but there’s something unsatisfactory about “oh, by the way, the guy who you met and spent a day or two with before he died was your father.” Secondly, this theory assumes that Han and Leia hid Rey on Jakku to keep her safe from her brother. Leaving your daughter on a desert planet with a sketchy junk dealer seems like terrible parenting, even for Han Solo, although the fact that the Millennium Falcon was on Jakku does potentially suggest that Han was somewhere in the area of Jakku at some point. Another version of this theory claims that Han and Leia thought that their daughter was killed when Kylo Ren betrayed Luke Skywalker, but she was hidden somewhere without them knowing. I find this doubtful because although she is not a Jedi, Leia is Force sensitive, showing a strong ability in sensing the well-being of her loved ones. I believe that if Leia had a daughter she would be able to sense whether or not she was alive. Finally, I think the major piece of evidence against this theory comes from Star Wars: Bloodline. In this novel, told from Leia’s point of view, Leia often thinks about the well-being of her husband (Solo is off participating in star ship racing) and her son (Ben is off training with Luke). When it is revealed to the galaxy that she was Darth Vader’s daughter, Leia makes a point to immediately contact Ben and Han. At no point does she ever mention having a daughter or even being around a girl young enough to be her daughter. This book takes place six years before “The Force Awakens,” so Rey would have been born at this point, but there was never any mention of her. When most people think of Rey’s parents, this is probably the most widespread theory, however with the above evidence, I do not think that Rey is a Solo.
Theory #4: Rey Skywalker
During the events of “The Force Awakens,” Luke Skywalker had been missing for decades in search of the first Jedi Temple.We know that before he went into hiding, he was attempting to train the next generation of Jedi until his nephew, Ben Solo, betrayed him, killing his other pupils. Could it be possible that before Luke went into hiding, that he fathered a daughter? Let’s go over the evidence. First of all we can look back at Anakin’s lightsaber and its affinity for Rey over Kylo Ren. Kylo Ren is Anakin’s grandson, but if Rey is Luke’s daughter then it would make sense that the lightsaber would be more attracted to her, as Anakin’s lightsaber was also Luke’s until he lost it along with his right hand at Cloud City. Also, it is undeniable that Rey was strong in the Force, which may point to Luke being her father. Finally, if she was Luke’s daughter it could also explain her brilliant piloting skills (a trait shared by Luke and Anakin), as well as her ability to immediately make connections with Han and Leia. Plus, it explains why she was on Jakku: Skywalkers thrive in desert planets.
Anyways, there is plenty of evidence that Rey could have been Luke’s daughter, but there is also plenty of reasons why was not. First of all, we know so little about Luke’s life in between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.” All we do know is that Luke spent those years attempting to bring back the Jedi Order. I do not know how much time commitment that is, but it is hard to imagine that while he was teaching kids the ways of the Force, finding Jedi temples, and saving Force-sensitive trees (see Marvel’s Star Wars: Shattered Empire) that he had time to impregnate someone. Although, based on Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi, it does seem that Luke would not adhere to the no-relationship rule of the original Jedi Order. There’s also the fact that Rey was left mostly unattended at the care of a junk dealer on a desert planet. Once again, this seems like poor parenting from the guy who saved the galaxy from the Emperor. Furthermore, we can look once again to Star Wars: Bloodline, where Leia always speaks of Luke spending a lot of time with Ben, with no mention of Luke having a daughter of his own. I don’t know, there is such little known about Luke at this time period right now that it is hard to say that this theory is unlikely. Due to the lack of information it really might be one of the more plausible theories right now.
Theory #5: Luke’s Jedi Daycare
This theory has a large amount of evidence going for it and can work in conjunction with any of the above theories. We know that Luke was attempting to train the next generation of Jedi until Kylo Ren betrayed Luke and destroyed what he was working toward. We also know that Rey, upon realizing that she was able to use the Force, was immediately able to use high-level Force abilities such as telekinesis, the Jedi mid trick, and was even able to counter Kylo Ren’s mind invasion. This shows that it is possible that she received some training in the past, before her memories were erased. The only evidence against this theory is that she had no memory of being trained in the Force, but if I am right in thinking that her memory was erased when she was left on Jakku, than this is already explained.
Bonus Theory: Who Left Rey on Jakku?
Rey always said her family left her on Jakku, but if it’s true that her memory was tampered with then she is not the best source of information on this subject. Enter one of my favorite fan theories. Some theorize that instead of her family, Kylo Ren was the one who left Rey on Jakku. Essentially, the theory is that Kylo Ren was ordered to kill Luke Skywalker’s Jedi pupils by Supreme Leader Snoke. Ren followed his orders, but decided to save one young girl (his sister? his cousin? his friend?). Kylo Ren erased the girl’s memories of her early life and left her on a remote planet with a junk dealer, thus keeping her safe and away from the First Order, while covering his tracks. This is evidenced by several facts. The first is Kylo Ren’s reaction when he is told that a girl helped BB-8 escape Jakku, which seems to show that Kylo Ren knows someone who could help a droid escape the First Order. Secondly, Ren is shown to be very skilled at invading people’s minds to get information, perhaps this could have been used to erase a young girl’s memories. Ren also talks about being pulled to the light, maybe during his darkest moment, when he betrayed his mentor, his family, and his friends, he felt that pull and decided to save someone from himself. Finally, during his final confrontation with Rey on the Starkiller Base, during their lightsaber fight when he had her at the edge of a cliff, instead of taking the momentary advantage to kill her, he offered her the choice to become his apprentice. Perhaps he had tried to save her years before and wanted to do so again? I really like this theory. Leaving the girl with Unkar Plott makes more sense when you realize it was a troubled teen’s half-assed attempt at doing something good. Once again, we must wait for answers.
I’m sure there are many more theories and a lot more evidence for Rey’s background, but we will not know the truth until the other movies are released. Was she a Solo or a Skywalker? We will have to wait to find out. If you have more fan theories you would like to share, or just want to have a (civil) debate about these theories, feel free to post in the comments section! I hope you have enjoyed this post, I enjoy speculating about these sorts of things and will hopefully do more posts like this in the future. Next week will be all about everyone’s favorite droid: R2-D2, and why he is the most important Star Wars character. As always, thanks for reading, and may the Force be with you!