Check out our first installment of Fan Theory: Who is Rey? For this post, we’re going in for a deeper dive.
Ever since Episode VII, there have been plenty of fan theories and speculation about Rey’s parents. Some are convinced that people are overthinking Rey’s origins – one major fan theory is that she is clearly Luke’s daughter and the next Skywalker. Here’s some of the logic behind that thinking.
IN-UNIVERSE REASONS WHY REY IS LUKE’S DAUGHTER
The four popular theories floating around about Rey’s origins are that she’s Han and Leia’s daughter, that she’s somehow related to Obi-Wan Kenobi, that she’s not related to anyone important, and then of course that she’s Luke’s daughter. Let’s break down why the first three don’t make sense.
1) If Rey is Han and Leia’s daughter, why does neither Han nor Leia acknowledge this during Episode VII? There’s no reason not to tell her. If we assume that Han didn’t know he had a daughter (maybe Leia was pregnant when he left?), it still doesn’t make sense. Han apparently left after Ben turned to the dark side, which means that Ben turned to the dark side when he was ~10 years old – not very likely. Even then, why would Leia drop Rey off on Jakku? And, even if that is somehow explained, it still doesn’t explain why Leia at least doesn’t just tell Rey she’s her mother during Episode VII.
2) Rey being related to Obi-Wan is incredibly convoluted. If Rey was Obi-Wan’s granddaughter, they would not only need to establish who Rey’s parents are, but then establish how either her mother or father are related to Obi-Wan. This one seems the least elegant of the possible backstories for Rey.
3) If Rey is not related to anyone important, then how do we explain her Force powers? In the prior Star Wars movies, the only characters who rapidly master various Force skills are Anakin and Luke. Anakin, we’re told in Episode I, is one of the most Force-sensitive people the Jedi have ever seen. We can reasonably assume that Luke and Leia (and any of their children) are probably pretty Force-sensitive too. But, if Rey is not part of the Skywalker lineage (either through Luke or Leia), then how is she so Force-sensitive? Did the Force just happen to create another “Chosen One” 60-ish years after Anakin? Do people who are this Force-sensitive just appear all over the galaxy all the time? This scenario simply creates more questions than it answers, and it’s hard to see how they can explain everything well during Episodes VIII and IX.
4) This brings us back to Rey being Luke’s daughter. This seems to be the most straightforward of the floating theories. Rey has some obvious similarities to both Luke and Anakin – she grows up on a desert planet, she’s a good pilot, she’s good mechanic (more so like Anakin than Luke), and she gets swept up into a bigger galactic conflict and leaves her home. All three learn about the Force and are told they’re Force-sensitive, and they quickly pick up different Force skills. Additionally, Rey being Luke’s daughter provides an easy explanation for why she is so Force-sensitive. It also helps explain the visions she got when she touched Anakin’s lightsaber – they’re all about her relatives. Now obviously, Rey being Luke’s daughter still raises the question of who the mother is, and why Rey was left on Jakku.
OUT-OF-UNIVERSE REASONS WHY REY IS LUKE’S DAUGHTER
The name Skywalker is one of the most famous movie names in the world. Through Star Wars and it’s various sequels, prequels, spin-offs, etc. it has become a fixture in modern culture. Currently, the only character named “Skywalker” in the sequel trilogy is Luke. Disney will almost certainly make sure to keep the Skywalker name relevant for a future generation – there’s no way that Luke is the last Skywalker (yes, obviously Kylo Ren is technically a Skywalker, but he’s Kylo Ren or Ben Solo, not Ben Skywalker). If Disney plans on continuing the Star Wars saga past the sequel trilogy (and they’d be stupid not to), then they need a new Skywalker.
Kathleen Kennedy (Lucasfilm president) has said as much. “The Saga films focus on the Skywalker family saga. The stories follow a linear narrative that connects to the previous six films. The Force Awakens follows Return of the Jedi and continues that generational story.” Sure, even if Rey isn’t a Skywalker, the presence of Kylo Ren technically keeps it as a Skywalker family saga. But for people who claim that Rey being a Skywalker is somehow predictable or lazy writing – that’s the entire point of the saga! It’s not Jedi vs. Sith, or Empire vs. Rebellion, or First Order vs. Resistance – it is a Skywalker family saga. The prequel trilogy had Anakin Skywalker as the main character, the original trilogy had Luke Skywalker as the main character, and logically the sequel trilogy will have a Skywalker as the main character – and it’s likely it will be Rey Skywalker.
One thing to note is that Episode VII has purposely kept Rey’s last name as a secret. This implies that she must be related to some character we already know. If Rey had a complete random origin, then why waste the time to build up this mystery around her origin, and spend marketing money to market “Rey”, instead of “Rey [random last name]”? I suppose they could be making a mystery just for the sake of mystery, but this seems like it would just be a setup for future backlash from fans. Revealing that Rey isn’t related to anyone we know wouldn’t be very interesting. Meanwhile, keeping it a secret that Rey is a Skywalker allows fans to speculate until Episode VIII comes out.
The biggest remaining issue with Rey being a Skywalker is explaining who her mother was and how she ended up on Jakku in the first place. That explanation might have to wait until a later date, but we can surely say that Rey looks similar enough to Padme and Leia and that Rey being related would be believable. But this doesn’t necessarily explain why Rey has a British accent. From a story point of view, there are also some nice parallels between Luke finding out he has a daughter (assuming that he didn’t know about Rey) and Anakin finding out he has a son during Episode V.
Clearly, there are a bunch of theories, evidence, etc. that have been missed, but overall it seems that the evidence points overwhelmingly in favor of Rey being Luke’s daughter, from both an in-universe consistency standpoint and even more so from an overall saga and marketing standpoint. Luke being the father is predictable, but it ties the entire saga together nicely, and keeps it as a Skywalker family affair.
Additionally, the sequel trilogy being a family affair opens up all sorts of interesting story possibilities. One very interesting and populur one involves Rey and Kylo Ren representing the two halves of Anakin Skywalker’s legacy, with Rey fighting on the side of the redeemed Anakin and Luke, while Kylo Ren obsesses over emulating Darth Vader and finishing what Vader started. They could fight over who can lay claim to Anakin’s legacy, a kind of medieval twist on the Star Wars saga. There are already hints of this in Episode VII. Kylo Ren obviously fights with a very claymore-esque lightsaber, and the pulling-the-lightsaber-out-of-the-snow moment between Kylo Ren and Rey had echoes of pulling Excalibur out of the stone in Arthurian legend.