Who is Rey? Where did she come from? And is she a Solo, a Skywalker, or a Kenobi?
As promised, in my previous SWVII post, we need to talk about Rey.
First of all, I loved Rey. I thought Daisy Ridley was brilliant. I believed her every move, and I can’t wait to see what she does with the rest of her career. I loved that we are getting a strong, female protagonist. Unfortunately, they’ve been underrepresented in the Star Wars films. I say this not as a female or as a feminist, but simply in regards to the gender status in the SW universe. Genders are relatively equal within the Star Wars universe. Women are in prime political positions and are just as involved among force users. Padme and Princess Leia are both fantastic, strong females. However, they’ve still been the token female characters among a male cast. So I’m glad to see another girl thrown into the mix, especially one who is specifically a force user.
All that aside though, the big question we’ve been wondering since the trailers is, who is Rey? Where does she come from? And why was she left behind on Jakku? We’re all pretty sure she comes from one of three families: the Solos, the Skywalkers, or the Kenobis. But which is it?
Is Rey a Solo?
No. No. And no. This was a popular theory, mimicking the Luke/Leia twins story. But sorry, no it’s not happening. I’m not saying that Leia and Han don’t have any more children, but Rey is not one of them. From the concern they have for Kylo Ren, I highly doubt they would abandon one of their other children on some remote, desolate planet, especially when she would’ve been perfectly safe with Leia on D’Qar. When Finn and Rey, meet up with Han, he also shows zero interest in anything on Jakku besides his ship. He’s definitely not thinking, oh she’s from Jakku. I wonder if she knows anything about my dearest daughter that I hid there.
I could go on about this, but I won’t. It suffices me to say, no, she’s not a Solo.
Is Rey a Skywalker?
This was my first impression upon leaving the theater and definitely what they want to seem to make us believe. The theory here goes that Luke had Rey, likely began her training in the Force, but then wiped her memory and hid her on Jakku when Kylo Ren turned to the dark side.
The parallels between Luke and Rey’s story are undeniable. Both grow up on a desert planet, both receive the same lightsaber, both are involved in a giant, evil battle station, both are incredibly powerful in the force, and on and on and on. Rey has dreams of Luke’s location and sees a vision of him when she touches the lightsaber. We get it. Their fates are intertwined.
Some great Easter eggs show up connecting the two as well. A great image is of the fallen AT-AT walker, in which Rey lives, laying in the same position of the AT-AT Luke knocks over on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. She also has an Alliance pilot’s helmet like Luke’s, though hers is a different color. Han offers her a job. The only other account we have of this happening is when he offered one to Luke in A New Hope. Rey using the Force to pull the lightsaber from the snow like Luke does on Hoth in the Wampa Cave. Kylo Ren extends his lightsaber to his father, and there would be a sense of poetry if at the end, Rey was extending a lightsaber to her father (however, let’s remember that the lightsaber is not actually hers-this will become important later).
Rey also has fabulous piloting skills, which, if she were a Skywalker, would be like her father, her uncle, and her grandfather.
If Rey is a Skywalker, this could explain why R2-D2 suddenly powered up, seeing as he didn’t do so till after her arrival. Maybe he was programmed too in the event that she showed up.
We’ve established that while The Force Awakens does not copy the Extended Universe, it certainly borrows elements and plot points from it. In the EU, Luke Skywalker marries and has children with Mara Jade. It is possible for a Mara Jade-esque character to be introduced to the films, especially when one considers that she is the most popular non-canon character among fans and more female actresses are slated to appear in Episode VIII.
However, I have some preliminary notions that dispel this theory.
First, this seems too obvious. Rey’s origins should be one of the biggest surprises of the new trilogy. But pretty much every everyone along with their uncle and cat are thinking this is the case. True, there would be a couple of remaining mysteries regarding Rey’s past, but her parents are the most pivotal detail.
Second, watching the film a second time, you get the sense that Rey has some idea of who she’s waiting for. Why would she be so determined to wait for some complete strangers, especially when she’s so destitute? How would she and her family even recognize each other now that she’s grown if she didn’t know who she was looking for? She clearly was left behind at an age where she would have memories of her parents. If she didn’t have any memories of them, why would she be so insistent on their return?
Third, if Luke left Rey on Jakku, he would pretty much be the worst parent ever. Unlike when Luke and Leia were hidden, Rey isn’t safely tucked away, being properly taken care of. For pete’s sakes, she scavenging junk for a couple measly portions of food. And why would he put her on a planet like the one he grew up on and completely loathed? Luke has a lot of friends. Surely, he could’ve come up with a better solution.
Which is why we have theory #3…
Is Rey a Kenobi?
Yes! Hopefully! Even though it doesn’t seem like the most obvious answer, my money is going here, and I think it would be the best decision story-wise. Rey is a Kenobi descendent, likely Obi-Wan Kenobi’s granddaughter. The best article I’ve read on this is here by Ben Ostrower:
I will quickly summarize his main points before adding my own:
-The only two light-side humans with a British accent are Obi-Wan and Rey, which can’t be coincidental seeing as other British actors have been in the films using an American accent.
-Rey successfully uses the Jedi mind trick, which is one of Obi-Wan’s signature moves
-Obi-Wan gives Luke the lightsaber out a box similar to the one which Rey finds the lightsaber in. It would make the ending more poignant with Luke and Rey if once again a Kenobi was presenting the lightsaber to a Skywalker.
-The tension between Rey and Ren would be considerably escalated if their conflict was a continuation of the battle between their grandfathers, as opposed to a conflict between cousins.
-It would be a nice chiasmus if the story went from a Kenobi training a Skywalker to a Skywalker training a Kenobi.
I completely agree with all of these points. Especially the one about how the Rey/Ren conflict would be the continuation of the battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin. If you pay attention to the battle between Rey and Ren on Starkiller, there are similarities to the lightsaber duel on Mustafar. The score has similar components and we have the environment crashing down around them in both scenes, adding to the drama.
Ren is also clearly a counterpart of Anakin: the hair, the clothing, the attitude, the way he screams “liar!.” Wouldn’t it make sense for there to be a counterpart of Obi-Wan? The wardrobe of Rey and Obi-Wan are similar like the wardrobes of Anakin and Ren.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is the only main character that we get little reference to in the Force Awakens. What’s funny is that before I thought of this, I was telling my husband that I would be super happy if they made an Obi-Wan spin-off. We know he had to have been doing something in the 20 year gap between Episodes III and IV. If Rey was a Kenobi, this would be a perfect way to cover that story.
Wait, wait, I know what you’re thinking!
No way! This is a story about the Skywalkers!
Well, that’s not necessarily true. In fact, I’d say that this story equally belongs to Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan is the first main character we are introduced to if we watch the films in chronological order. We also end the prequels with him. He gets way too much screen time for this story not to be about him. Even in the originals, he’s there for a good portion of the sequences with Luke. There is always a Kenobi with the Skywalkers, hence why an Obi-Wan counterpart would make as much sense as an Anakin counterpart.
Let’s also not forget that Luke, Leia, and Ren are all Skywalkers with their own storylines. Trust me, there are plenty of Skywalkers in this new trilogy!
Furthermore, if you think about it, it’s not absurd to think that the Kenobis and the Skywalkers could somehow be related. Obi-Wan and Anakin are always referring to each other with familial terms. What if they were actually related? We don’t know anything about Obi-Wan or Shmi Skywalker’s ancestors. Obi-Wan is too powerful not to have come from a strong, force-using family. As far as the Skywalkers are concerned, why would Darth Plageuis choose to create Anakin in a family line with no Force significance. It’s possible that the Skywalker line somehow fell into obscurity.
A relation would also be logical given Anakin’s archetype. He is a Christ-like figure, given his virgin birth, prophecies of his coming, destined to bring balance to the Force. That would make Kenobi the equivalent of John the Baptist, the forerunner and real-life cousin of Christ. On a literary level, it would round out that symbology (This probably deserves a whole post to itself).
But Rey is too strong! She has to be a descendant of Anakin!
Poppy cock. Anakin himself describes Obi-Wan “as wise as Master Yoda and as powerful as Master Windu.” Obi-Wan is the real deal and managed to beat the crap out of Anakin—seriously, he looked awful after that Mustafar incident.
But what about the lightsaber?! It gets passed onto descendants!
That’s not necessarily true. Jedi aren’t supposed to have descendants to pass it on to!
And if that is true, let’s look at the history of this lightsaber. This is not Anakin’s first lightsaber. This is the lightsaber he made to replace the one he lost on Geonosis in Episode II. This is also not the lightsaber Luke had in Return of the Jedi, but rather the one that he lost in at Cloud City. That means that this lightsaber maybe spent a grand total of five years within the Skywalker family. Obi-Wan, on the other hand, was in possession of this lightsaber far longer than any Skywalker.
Luke didn’t have any kind of vision when he received the lightsaber. Within the vision itself, we don’t hear the voice of Luke or of Anakin, but of Obi-Wan. Anakin is redeemed and able to manifest as a Force ghost. So if it’s his descendant and his lightsaber, shouldn’t he be the one doing the reaching out here?
But you just said that R2-D2 likely came back online because Rey was a Skywalker!
That’s one explanation, yes, but the same could be said of a Kenobi. After the fall of Anakin, R2-D2 considered Obi-Wan to be his master. In Episode IV, R2-D2 hides his message from Princess Leia until he meets the appropriate party of Obi-Wan. Likewise, R2-D2 wouldn’t have revealed the map to Luke until in the presence of Rey Kenobi, mirroring that plot point.
But what about Rey’s piloting skills?! Explain that!
Okay, I refuse to believe that piloting is an inherent skill passed down from generation from generation. Hello! Rey knows about ships because she spends the majority of her time picking them apart!
But even if piloting is somehow passed down genetically, Obi-Wan was still a great pilot. He managed to outmaneuver Jango Fett and fought as a fighter pilot in the Clone Wars.
But Obi-Wan is a pure Jedi! He wouldn’t have a child!
I think that’s romanticizing the character of Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan is a fantastic character, and a romance could add a new layer of depth to him. He was alone for twenty years and the Jedi Order no longer existed at that point. Besides, having a Jedi having a child doesn’t mean their no longer good. Force users have to have children! Where do you think the powerful Force users come from?! Maybe he was able to give up that mandate of the Jedi Code of an Order that no longer existed in order to bring more of the light side into the world. Maybe Qui-Gon Jinn, who we can deduce he was in communication with from Episode III, gave him the okay. I don’t claim to know, but it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to me. Again, referencing back to the EU, he does fall in love with someone, so he’s not entirely infallible.
We should also remember that just as Anakin died and became Vader, Obi-Wan also died and became Ben. Uncle Owen tells Luke, “I don’t think [Obi-Wan] exists anymore.” Part of Obi-Wan was lost after the battle on Mustafar, and he was forever changed after losing someone he considered his brother.
Furthermore, as stated earlier, while it would be best that she was Obi-Wan’s granddaughter, she could also be a descendant of his family in other ways. He could’ve had siblings. We just don’t know that much about his ancestry.
Okay, she’s a Kenobi. Then what happened to her parents?
Well, either they were really crappy parents, or they were among the Jedi that Luke was training. In The Force Awakens, Han specifically says that Luke was “training a new generation of Jedi, but one boy turned on him.” This implies that there were many under Luke’s guidance when Kylo Ren turned.
Here’s when the Knights of Ren become important. Within the Star Wars universe, the term “knight” is only used in conjunction with the Jedi. I propose that the Knights of Ren include others among Luke’s students who joined with Kylo Ren. The group then mimicked Anakin by massacring the rest of the new Jedi. In the midst of this new Jedi hunt, Rey’s parents took Rey to Jakku temporarily for her safety, but later were killed in the slaughter.
That is why we see Rey being left on Jakku in conjunction with the Knights of Ren in Rey’s vision. This is why no one is looking out for her like someone did for Luke and Leia. That is why Rey is so adamant that someone will be returning for her. And that is why Rey doesn’t acknowledge that no one is coming back for her, but that she must find Luke, after her experience with the lightsaber.
Can you also imagine the increase in conflict between Rey and Kylo Ren when she finds out that he was responsible for her parents’ death?
And there you have it! What about you? What are your theories? Who do you think her parents are? Comment below and let’s discuss this!