(Note: This article contains extensive discussion and speculation about Daisy Ridley’s character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that will spoil important polot points from the movie. Please do yourself a favor and go see the movie if you haven’t already. You’ll be happy you did.)
When we first meet Rey, Daisy Ridley’s tough, independent young woman in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she’s scraping out an existence on the desert planet Jakku. Her life isn’t a great one, but she’s getting by because she’s good at what she does, scavenging parts from the remains of an epic battle between the Empire and the Republic fought long ago.
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Rey knows of the Resistance, though as she tells Finn, she’s never met any of their fighters before. She’s less certain of Luke Skywalker, believing him to be only a legend. There’s little question, though, that she’s street smart, mechanically inclined and can handle herself in a scrap. Oh, and she’s okay with droids, becoming friends with BB-8. The movie lays all of that out for us brilliantly.
She’s also waiting; for her family to return, as we learn later in the film. That knowledge comes explicitly from Rey’s dialogue and from a brief flashback we see later, showing young Rey watching a ship take off.
Everything we learn about her during the course of The Force Awakens, then, comes down to one big question, one that isn’t resolved even by the end of The Force Awakens …
Who are Rey’s parents?
Besides jerks, that is, for leaving her behind on Jakku and not coming back. Jokes aside, Rey’s conversation with Maz Kanata also hints at something sadder, which is that her family isn’t returning.
Why not? That depends on who you think her parents are, and The Force Awakens does an excellent job keeping us off-guard on that score, leading us in one direction first and then another. Let’s go over the case for and against the most logical answers.
Rey’s Parents are Han Solo and Leia Organa
- The case for it: Rey is a whiz of a pilot and mechanic, and has an immediate, almost uncanny rapport with the Millennium Falcon. Chewbacca takes an instant liking to her too. Her street smarts could certainly come from her dad, and her Force sensitivity could be from her mom. Remember, it’s been well established that Leia is powerfully attuned to the Force, she’s just never trained in it. Knowing that, Han and Leia could have stashed her on Jakku while he returned to being a smuggler and she did the important work of overseeing the Resistance. As well, this would make her Kylo Ren’s sister, adding another layer to their conflict and serving as a shout out to the now non-canon novels that saw Han and Leia have boy-girl twins.
- The case against it: Considering that Rey spends a lot of time around Han during the movie, even if he didn’t want to tell her the truth, you figure it would come up eventually — unless, of course, Han somehow doesn’t recognize his daughter, having not seen her for years. Also, Leia seems to be wracked with guilt over sending Ben (Kylo Ren’s real name) away to train. Wouldn’t she feel similarly about doing the same with her daughter?
Rey’s Parents are Luke Skywalker and … someone
- The case for it: Her strength in the Force is the most obvious clue if this is indeed the case. Luke is the Jedi of his generation, and even almost completely untrained, was able to use it to help him blow up the first Death Star. Rey’s resistance of Kylo Ren’s interrogation and subsequent use of the Jedi mind trick suggests she must be powerful indeed. That would be even more true if her mother is Mara Jade, or someone like her with her own Force abilities. As for her piloting and mechanical affinity, let’s not forget that Luke was pretty darn awesome in both areas back in the day. If this theory holds, one would expect that Luke decided to leave Rey on Jakku after his failure with Ben. Though one wonders what happened to her mother … Anyway, the Star Wars saga to date has been in large part a tale about father and son, and Rey being a Skywalker would continue that overall arc.
- The case against it: The chronology might be off a bit, at least given what we’ve seen in The Force Awakens. The Force flashback shows an awfully young Rey when she’s left on Jakku, yet she and Kylo Ren appear to be fairly close in age once he removes his helmet for the first time. Could Luke have really washed out training Ben while Rey was that young? Another thing to keep in mind: Anakin Skywalker initially began his descent to the dark side after having a forbidden romance that led to children. If Luke is a dad, that means he ignored the old Jedi teachings as well, though perhaps with none remaining but him, he’s taken some liberties with them.
Expect this to be the major point of debate between The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Episode VIII. I wouldn’t expect any confirmation either way from J.J. Abrams or anyone on the Lucasfilm team, as Rey’s parentage should remain a major plot point going forward.
What’s Next for Rey After The Force Awakens?
The end of The Force Awakens is ambiguous in the sense that Luke never speaks, but since Rey was able to find her when he didn’t really want to be found and presented him with the lighstaber that once belonged to Anakin Skywalker, he’s going to have to hear her out. Given the disaster that led to Kylo Ren, he’s likely to be hesitant about training Rey (maybe even more so if he really is her father), but he also will probably recognize that it’s necessary if it means a balance to Kylo’s ongoing journey to the dark side.
Even if Rey continues along the path to becoming a Jedi, she’s likely to experience some of the same dilemmas that tortured Luke when it came to deciding between his friends and his training. Specifically, it sure seems like her heart already belongs to Finn, even if they are only in the very early stages of an epic love. She tells him they will meet again, and I’m certain they will.