Let’s Talk About Rey’s Family In The Star Wars Universe
It’s hard to believe the much anticipated release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has come and gone. I thought Episode VII successfully relaunched the Star Wars universe in unexpected ways. It answered many questions about the galaxy after the events of Return of the Jedi. But it also left fans with new questions about mysterious characters, Jedi temples, lost lightsabres and more.
One of the biggest mysteries is the identity of Rey’s family. The new heroine of the series endeared herself quickly to fans. Her devotion to finding her family is both relatable and compelling to watch. So, while we wait for Star Wars Episode VIII, fans will be wondering who she is waiting for? Who are her parents? Why did they leave her?
There are many theories out there. The most widely speculated explanation is that she is the daughter of Luke Skywalker. It’s tough to come to any definite conclusions about the theory. For example, if she is Luke’s daughter, how did he keep it from Han and Leia? Wouldn’t Kylo ‘don’t call me Ben’ Ren have knowledge of his potentially powerful cousin?
Rey seems to know who her family is. She was old enough to have memories of them or, at the very least, memories of people she believes are blood. So it would make sense that she would be a little shocked to see Luke in the final sequence of the film.
DAD? YOU'RE LUKE SKYWALKER?
Perhaps he is her father but she knows him by another name. Perhaps he kept the name Skywalker out of her life to keep her safe? It’s quite possible that Luke also kept her existence hidden from Leia and Han. It seems a little unlikely but it’s possible.
If it’s true an even bigger question should be dominating fan speculation. If she is Luke’s daughter then who is her mother? It’s almost a guarantee she would be a new character. (They did cast Laura Dern in Episode VIII. She seems motherly right?)
Personally, I don’t think she’s Luke’s daughter at all. It seems too neat and tidy from a storytelling perspective. Too convenient.
Let’s talk about another popular theory. The Rey is Ben Solo/Kylo Ren’s twin sister theory. It wouldn’t be the first time twins were separated at birth for protection in the Star Wars saga. Again the bigger question is why Leia and Han would distance themselves from one child and not the other. More importantly, who do they trust enough in the galaxy to take care of their little girl? This theory is plausible but highly unlikely. There’s no way Han would spend that much time with Rey without mentioning that he’s her father. But then there is a curious hug between Leia and Rey at the end of the film.
A third theory (and my personal favorite) revolves around the force itself. Anakin Skywalker was conceived by the force and grew to be a powerful Jedi Knight/Sith Lord. It’s very possible Rey is simply another vergence in the force. I believe this is the most likely scenario specifically because of comments producer Kathleen Kennedy made prior to the film’s release:
“The Star Wars saga is about a series of seemingly chance encounters.
They impact the destiny of everyone involved.”
Why do we need a connection to an existing character when it comes to the identity of Rey’s parents? I believe, she was conceived by the force. A series of chance encounters led her to Luke. Why couldn’t a series of chance encounters lead Luke to Rey after her birth? It’s perfectly reasonable to assume Luke felt the emergence of an extremely force sensitive being. (I’m really trying not to use the word midi-chlorian here…) What if he sought her out and helped her family protect her? He could very well be her ‘Ben Kenobi’. What if he told them to leave her on Jakku when a new threat emerged? Someone like Snoke? Luke may not be her real father but that doesn’t mean he can’t act like one. Maybe training Ben Solo was meant to test Luke’s ability to train before tackling someone like his father. After Ben Solo’s betrayal, it’s easy to believe Luke would take steps to ensure Rey’s whereabouts remain hidden from The First Order. Especially before he sets out to find the first Jedi Temple.
To me, this theory perfectly explains the subtle hint of disappointment in Luke’s eyes when he sees Rey at the end of the movie. After everything he has done to protect her, a series of chance encounters led her straight to him regardless. Now he has no choice but to teach her the ways of the force in order to defend herself. In turn, she has the ability to restore his faith after Ben’s ruthless betrayal. I’m also fascinated by the idea of loneliness in Rey’s heart. Imagine finding out you were conceived by the force and realizing you don’t really have a family. Perhaps finding the first Jedi temple is the key to explanation why she exists. Along the way, she realizes people like Finn, Poe, Luke and Leia are her family.
"THE FORCE... IT'S CALLING TO YOU...
JUST LET IT IN..."
I’m okay with this theory because it’s simple, it makes sense and it’s very much in line with the rest of the Star Wars mythology. It stands to reason that Snoke will stop at nothing to prevent her training. That’s what excites me most about Rey in Episode VII. Through Rey, I believe we will learn more about the nature of the force than ever before. That’s not the big question. My big question is… If she was conceived by the force, then what will the big ‘Empire Strikes Back’ type reveal be in Star Wars Episode VIII? Does it revolve around Snoke? Kylo Ren? Luke? Or will Rey learn something about her family so dark and tragic that it makes Darth Vader seem like a swell person?
Star Wars is about chance encounters and the idea of destiny. It was Luke’s destiny to meet Obi Wan. It was also fate that Han and Chewie were around to help them save Leia in A New Hope. That’s all the explanation we needed back then. Luke and Obi Wan needed a ship. Han Solo had a ship and a knack for smuggling.
Why can’t the new series follow a similar trajectory? It certainly started out that way in Episode VII. Each chance meeting building more layers in the story. There doesn’t need to be any forced connections to existing characters. This is a new story.
If Rey does have a family out there, it’s certainly a centerpiece of this new trilogy. One that will shape the next few years of storytelling in this universe. We will get ‘some’ answers when Episode VIII arrives in 2017. But I believe this is a mystery we won’t finish unravelling until Episode IX. Which will be released in about 6 thousand years.