Who exactly was the “Clan Leader” in Rey’s flashback?

The origin of Rey has been quite a mystery and one of the most discussed mysteries in The Force Awakens. We discussed this earlier a few times, and we’ve concluded that a key part of her backstory, regardless of her parentage, is her “clan”. But who or what exactly was this “clan”? Presumably, the clan is Rey’s clan, and the group of people/tribe/clan in which she was born. Perhaps some of her early years were spent with the clan.

Going way back over a year ago to February 2015, Making Star Wars reported that The Force Awakens would feature a “clan” of sorts that fights back against the Knights of Ren (then just called the “seven”) with a lightsaber. From the article:

Flashback: Exterior Night Battlefield – Fierce battle! Sword is being use by the CLAN against THE SEVEN.

In this early plot leak, we have this notion that the clan sought out a lightsaber and bought one from a trader, who bought it from Naka. This would in fact be Luke’s saber, but these ideas appear to have been cut from the film. That is, we thought they were…

Only relatively recently, we have a confirmation from Pablo Hidalgo, based on the script, that the guy being killed by Kylo Ren’s lightsaber in the flashback, was in fact the “Clan Leader”. Here’s the tweet:

To me, this quote kind of confirms that the MakingStarWars original reports on the clan featuring in the flash-back scene were true, and they were just heavily cut along with a lot of other shots from that scene.

So who exactly was this “clan” and how do they play into the bigger story? Can we gather any other scraps of info to infer anything about them? Let’s start with the clan leader. Here is the image of this character from the film:

image credit: Lucasfilm and @RobbyV

Many people had thought that this guy was one of the Knights of Ren before this confirmation from Pablo that he was the “Clan Leader”. However, one thing we know about the KoR is that they all have masks. They all cover their faces. This guy appears to be human, most likely, with an exposed face. Everything seems in order, except…what’s the deal with the hat? Some people have pointed out  that his helmet looks like it might be the same as Constable Zuvio’s. If you don’t know, Constable Zuvio is sort of a background character who may have been mostly cut from the film. He was sort of the leader of a militia of sorts on Jakku, and the closest thing they had to a police force. Here is an image of Zuvio from the Visual Dictionary:


Zuvio and his cousins were Kyuzo, from the planet Phatrong, and they all wore those same helmets:

from Star Wars Databank

So this helmet was specifically a Kyuzo thing, so why was our human Clan Leader wearing one? We’ve seen a lot of strange helmets in Star Wars, but only Kyuzo wear these. It’s possible that the Clan Leader’s helmet is not Kyuzo, and is something else. Taking a more critical look at the CL’s helmet, it does appear to be rounder at the top, whereas Zuvio’s gets a little flatter around the edges. Not to mention, it’s raining, so this could just be some rain headgear for all we know.

The other thing that we know is that the Clan Leader was referred to as a “warrior” in the novelization during Rey’s Force-vision. What’s more, if we take the script as confirmation of the clan that MSW had originally reported, then this gives more credibility to the original rumor that the clan, and presumably the clan leader, was fighting with a lightsaber. Allegedly, in the original plot the clan sought out a lightsaber, and came across Luke’s saber being sold on Jakku. So this means that the Clan Leader was a warrior, who fought with a lightsaber…sounds a lot like a Jedi. That said, there is a good chance that they bought it just to protect themselves from Kylo Ren’s lightsaber. Didn’t help too much in the end.

What is striking to me is how much of the movie takes place on Jakku in these early leaks/rumors. If we take Pablo’s tweet as confirmation that they are at least partially true, then we have to wonder if the clan was also on Jakku. Furthermore, given all the connections here, one has to wonder if the clan is connected to the Church of the Force village, where Lor San Tekka lived. This is certainly possible. After all, the village constitutes a clan of sorts. So for the final bit of speculation, we have to wonder if there is any connection between the Church of the Force and the Clan. The only sticking point in that is that it was raining when the clan was killed. Although this isn’t impossible for it to rain in the dessert, it does make it very unlikely, especially in a town where water is so precious.

We’ll no doubt get an answer of Rey’s origins in Episode VIII and IX, and we are assured that the answer will be satisfying. I’d say the time spent waiting and speculating is half the fun.

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