There is significance to Rey’s chosen family at the end of it all, and it doubles as a way to honor Ben Solo’s legacy in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Warning: This post contains Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker spoilers.
We have known from the start of the sequel trilogy where Kylo Ren originally came from. Under the mask, Ben Solo is the son of Leia Organa and Han Solo. He is desperate to escape his past, but even after confronting his father, his family name is indefinitely part of who he is — who he used to be, or who he may once again become.
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At the end of The Rise of Skywalker, after Ben reclaims his identity and Kylo Ren is no more, he sacrifices himself to save Rey. She then, in the vast desert of Tatooine, declares that she, once without a name, is choosing to identify as a Skywalker.
Many fans were rattled by this decision for a number of reasons. The general consensus seems to be that it made sense symbolically even if some did not favor the choice. But some arguments attempted to make the point that Rey should have taken on the name “Solo” to honor Ben, and the fact that she didn’t is an insult to his character and all he stood for.
I’m all for differing opinions — I welcome all sides of every argument and am always willing to hear someone out, to approach an opposing viewpoint with an open mind. I very much agree with some of the criticisms surrounding The Rise of Skywalker and the sequel trilogy as a whole.
But the case for Rey Solo in this regard is something I simply cannot get behind. Because Ben? He is, without a doubt, a Skywalker. This is not something new we have just learned. We have known it all along.
If you were to look at the Skywalker family tree, you would find Ben near the bottom. He is the son of Leia, who is the daughter of Anakin Skywalker and the sister of Luke Skywalker. Just because his given name is Solo (his father’s given name) does not mean he does not fall into the Skywalker bloodline — the same way that Leia’s given name is Organa, but she, too, is of the Skywalker family.
When you look back on Han’s story, it’s even more powerful to consider what his last name actually signifies. This was not the family name Han was born with. An Imperial officer chose it for him on a whim, and he had no option other than to adopt it.
The Empire, something he grew to hate and later fight against, tried to define who he was by giving him a name, and through his actions, he both rejected that forced legacy and gave it a new definition.
Yes, Han made his given name his own over time, and he eventually passed it down to his son. But being a Solo was never Ben’s legacy. He is and always has been a Skywalker. The Solo bloodline ended with Ben, but when Rey took on the Skywalker name, that bloodline lived on through her at least in principle.
There is beauty in that perspective even if you don’t resonate with it. He died, but he will not be forgotten. The final chapter of his story is, in some ways, the beginning of her next one (whether we see more of it or not).
The theme of embracing your chosen family, your chosen legacy, is woven intricately through this movie and the sequel trilogy as a whole. Even when Kylo Ren became Ben again, and he realized he had no blood relatives left, he went to Rey. He chose her as his family of sorts, however you want to interpret that — some say it was romantic, some say it was something else. It’s really up to interpretation, as many things in this story can be.
Rey Skywalker was a way for her to honor his sacrifice, and to embrace all that she wished to become. He will live on. The Skywalker saga as we know it may be over, but the Skywalker legacy may be just beginning.
How do you feel about Rey taking on the Skywalker name?