Continuing our series on our new characters today we will be figuring out what is really up with Rey. We’ll look at theories discussing her past, who she’s related to, and what we think we’ll see for her arc. Like our article on Kylo and our articles on Snoke this will be a mix of review of other fans’ theories and our own original ideas. Potential Spoilers ahead.
If we are going to understand Rey, then we need to understand her past. We’ve discussed this several times, here, here, here, and here. Plus a few more times as parts of other articles like this one. So to say we’ve talked about this before may be an understatement, and you may even wonder what we have that is new. And the simple answer is plenty. As more novels come out and our understanding of the universe at large expands we can discard old ideas and open up new ones. One of those ideas we have mentioned before, Rey is an unreliable narrator when it comes to her past. My thinking has changed on some aspects of this, however. First, I no longer believe she has had her memories altered. My second change plays into the first, I’m certain she was left at 5 or 6 and never really had any Force training. What makes her an unreliable narrator is the fact that she was left at such a young age. Her memories are tainted by her youth and rose colored glasses that being 5 leaves you with. This also means her memories of who left her and why, are likely tainted by input from those around her after. She was left with Unkar as far we know so it would be in his best interest to keep her around for more than one reason cheap labor and potential payoff if those that left her come back. Best way to keep her around would be tell the people that dropped her off were family and are coming back, even if they aren’t either. This also means that MOST of Rey’s backstory that we learned is true. She grew up on Jakku and is just a scavenger. One that developed mechanical and piloting expertise while on a dessert planet but we haven’t seen that before, have we?
Speaking of dessert dwellers with unknown fathers in the first movie of a trilogy that are the main characters and use the force, we can’t talk about Rey’s past without talking about her parents. After reading the last two sentences it seems obvious who Rey is related to, Skywalker. The idea that Luke is her father is probably the most prevalent theory among casual fans while hardcore fans seem to want it to be someone else. One of the biggest arguments against the idea is Luke wouldn’t abandon his child and he would have known she was alive. This to me is a dumb argument as there is plenty of in universe evidence that he wouldn’t have known. Anakin didn’t know Leia or Luke were his until later, Luke didn’t know Leia was his sister until Obi-wan hit him over the head with it, Anakin and the Emperor didn’t know Yoda or Obi-wan were around etc etc. I agree Luke wouldn’t have abandoned his daughter but two scenarios fix that, he didn’t know he had one or the mother/mother’s family left her in an emergency and was killed, Luke unable to find her thinks she was killed also. I’d say there is about a 40% chance that Luke is her dad.
So what else are the possibilities? The latest is she is a Palpatine, which you may have seen before, you can read the first theory on reddit here by PublicolaMinor but most likely you saw the follow ups by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt here and the youtube video from Vincent Vendetta here. While this idea has some merit I find the hardest thing to believe is Palpatine had kids and then those kids had kids. A better idea would be she is a Palpatine, but not a direct descendant, more like a neice/grandniece than grandchild. Either way I find the evidence thinner than the evidence of her being a Skywalker. I’d put it at 10% at best.
Then there are the other ideas of her being related to people we know from Kenobi (here’s a great breakdown with links to other Kenobi theories) to a reincarnation of Anakin to a clone of Anakin, Luke, Palpatine etc etc. I give the idea that she is related to one of previous characters in the movies or clone etc combined chance of about 5%. Four of those percentage points are Rey Kenobi. None of them make much narrative or logical sense.
So that gives us 45% left in my potential family breakdown and I put it all in one place. That place is “Unrelated to anyone we’ve seen in the movies before”. That doesn’t mean her parents we’re unknown to our main characters though. I see several potential parents, one would be a Jedi that was in training with Luke and had a child either as the father or Mother and were hunted down by Snoke or the First Order without Luke knowing what happened. Her parents could have been part of the Church of the Force. They have a presence on Jakku so it wouldn’t be at all odd if her family left her there and was killed. For all we know Unkar was supposed to drop her off with them and just never did. It would also explain why her clothes in the flashback were so well suited for Jakku, she’s lived there her whole life.
However the one idea I really like was put forth by Arturo273 here. Go read it, I’ll wait….Its a good one right? Well I’m going to take it a step forward and give that apprentice a name, Gallius Rax. In my Snoke week post I speculated that Rax was actually an apprentice/disciple of Snoke before the Empire had fallen and is now positioning the remnants of the Empire to be taken over by Snoke. If Snoke decided, like with Kylo, that Rax must kill his family to truly embrace the darkside and Rax was unwilling, where would he go to hide his child? The last place Snoke would look, Rax’s home world of Jakku. Again it would explain why Rey is dressed appropriately for the planet and if Snoke discovered the deception why he would seek out Ben as his next apprentice. There is also the idea that she is completely unrelated in anyway to anyone we’ve ever seen or that our other main characters have ever seen. I suspect one of these ideas is more likely than Her being related to one of the characters in the previous trilogies.
So no matter who her parents her future will be shaped by the choices she makes. The question I’ve seen recently is: will those choices take her down the dark path as it did Anakin and Ben? She obviously used some anger when fighting Kylo, but so did Luke when facing Vader on the Death Star II. In the novelization she hears a voice tell her to strike Kylo down and she is able to resist that call. So far she is leaning towards the light but that doesn’t mean she will stay there. The conflict to come in Episode VIII and IX will test her again and again and her choices will determine her fate. We can also look to other theories like the Ring theory to see what would make the most sense thematically. I believe we will find that this trilogy will have Rey’s ascendance into being a Jedi, and its Kylo’s journey that is truly in question.