The Rise of Skywalker: Rey’s heritage still doesn’t matter


The truth about Rey’s past reveals something unexpected about where she came from. But it does not change the message of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

This post contains Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker spoilers.

From the moment we met her, we knew there was something different about Rey. Like Finn, she didn’t have a family name, and did not know where she originally came from. She was “no one” destined to discover her place in the galaxy on her own.

More from Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

In the end, she did find a family — though not the family defined by her bloodline. And she isn’t the only one. In some way, almost every member of the Resistance found a cause to fight for and people to fight alongside.

Chosen family is, in many ways, one of the underlying themes of this entire saga. It’s not where you come from. It’s who you decide to become despite your past.

In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren and Rey have a pivotal conversation about where she comes from. It is understood that Rey’s parents, like her, were “nobody from nowhere.” She took that truth and buried it down deep. But questions still remained. Where did her power come from? Was Kylo Ren telling lies?

Technically, he wasn’t. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Kylo Ren was telling what was true … from a certain point of view.

The Rise of Skywalker reveals that Rey’s parents were, by their own definition, nobody — because “they chose to be.”

To get away from what, you ask? None other than Palpatine himself. Because Rey’s father, it turns out, was Palpatine’s son.

Imagine realizing you are the granddaughter of presumably the most ruthless Sith Lord who has ever lived. That’s not an easy truth to swallow. Especially since it comes with a choice: Do you accept what your bloodline has predetermined you should become — or do you fight against it and become someone else?

Some fans are struggling with this truth — and understandably so. Rey? A Palpatine? How is that even possible? And was it really necessary to connect her to someone so powerful?

This is where it’s important to look at Star Wars as it has always been, rather than what you want it to be (thematically). Even the sequel trilogy has echoed themes of the films that have come before it, particularly that of family, and how one chooses to handle where they come from.

The film ends with Rey finally adopting a family name: Skywalker. This might seem jarring at first — maybe it doesn’t feel like it fits right.

But thematically, symbolically, it is the best way the saga could have ended. Ben’s bloodline (yes, he is a Skywalker, with the last name Solo) did not end with him. It will, in a way, live on through her.

Rey is not the only one who ultimately chooses to say “no thanks” to her bloodline. Palpatine’s son outright rejected his Sith heritage (where’s THAT Disney+ series?) and paid the ultimate price for it. The same way Luke and Leia acknowledged that Darth Vader was their father, but did not follow in his footsteps.

“Let the past die” still holds meaning here, if you don’t take it too literally. “Skywalker” is still a legacy. Rey is choosing to reject her bloodline. It is no more. It’s not about forgetting the past. It’s about no longer letting it define you.

There’s still the issue of Kylo not telling the whole truth — which we can turn right back to the original trilogy to justify. Obi-Wan Kenobi did the exact same thing to Luke when telling him about his father. This is nothing new.

The message here isn’t that Kylo Ren’s commentary about Rey’s parents in The Last Jedi has been undone, or that it doesn’t matter.

The message is that at the end of it all, Rey did come from somewhere, she is related to someone we know, but she still very deliberately chose not to define herself by her bloodline. She chose the Skywalker name because that is who she identifies with. It is her chosen family. It is who she is proud to have become.

She will always remember where she came from — how could she forget it? But in remembering, she will always choose to continue following a different path than that expected of her.

If that’s not Star Wars at its core, I don’t know what is.

light. Related Story. Star Wars: What happened in the final battle in The Rise of Skywalker?

How do you feel about Rey choosing the Skywalker name? How does it change the way you view The Last Jedi?