Sunday, November 1, 2015

Analyzing the Parentage of The Force Awakens' New Characters

Since the new cast members of Star Wars: The Force Awakens were announced in April 2014, fans have been wondering which of their characters might be the children of familiar and beloved heroes from the Original Trilogy, and possibly even part of the Skywalker family tree. 
Rumors have been running nonstop, but this week's release of the movie's first and final trailer seems to signify that currently, we know the most we'll ever know about the new characters' parentage, until we're watching them in theaters on December 18th. So using every piece of published information and the most popular rumors circulating, I'm going to go through each of the new characters and discuss who their mom and dad will most likely be. Chances are, a few of my educated guesses could turn out to be true, so a *SPOILER ALERT* should be assumed. 

Rey (Daisy Ridley)

Anyone would agree that Rey's our best bet at being a Skywalker. Desert origin, mechanical skills and piloting expertise? Check, check, and check. She lives on sandy planet Jakku as a self-sufficient scavenger who seems to dream of leaving her world behind, which makes several obvious parallels to Luke Skywalker. Leaked promotional art revealed that she can fly, too; apparently, she'll serve as the newest co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, alongside Han Solo and Chewbacca. 
Not to mention that an image of The Force Awakens-themed trading cards clearly identify her as a Jedi. The footage, theatrical poster, and promo art released show her primary weapon to be a staff of some kind, so perhaps the movie will end with her receiving a double-bladed lightsaber (famously introduced by The Phantom Menace's Darth Maul) known as a Saberstaff. 

Fans have actually been predicting Ridley's role as the daughter of Han and Leia since the moment she was announced to be in the movie; the photo of the cast together showed her sitting in-between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. Another possibility could be that her father is Luke, who's mysteriously missing from all released content from the movie. Either way, this begs the question of how exactly she ended up all alone on Jakku. 

Finn (John Boyega)

The most popular theory is that Finn's father is Lando Calrissian, which makes a certain amount of sense -- Lando was a womanizer who could have easily accidentally spawned a son -- but Finn has been repeatedly shown to demonstrate some kind of lightsaber skill (with Anakin Skywalker's blue blade that was lost by Luke on Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back), and Lando had no Jedi blood whatsoever. 
Yes, it's quite common for Force powers to be non-hereditary, but what's the point of having Lando be Finn's father if the two have nothing in common? Finn is an uncertain stormtrooper who makes a bold decision to escape the First Order to live a more purposeful life, it's not like he shares Lando's charismatic and sleazy personality. The only purpose of identifying Calrissian as Finn's father would be to give Han Solo a reason to trust him when they meet in the movie. 

If Finn is a Jedi, maybe his real father, or grandfather, is Mace Windu. Serving as one of the highlights of the terrible Prequel Trilogy, Windu's skill and wisdom were second only to Yoda. And thanks to Samuel L. Jackson -- who didn't want his character to "go out like some punk" -- Windu's inevitable death in Revenge of the Sith was preceded by a memorable duel with the omnipotent Darth Sidious, which the purple-lightsaber-wielding Jedi master would have (arguably) won if not for Anakin's interruption. 
But unlike Anakin (who was unable to resist the temptations of love with Padmé), Mace was a very strong believer in the Jedi Code, and it's unlikely that he would have fathered a child. Still, this would be an interesting way for The Force Awakens to recognize one of the Prequels' best characters. 

(And yes, the theories regarding both Lando and Mace are mostly based on their roles as the only memorable black characters in Star Wars history, but it's not racism, it's simple genetics: skin color is a universally hereditary trait.)

Here's another (slightly unrelated) theory: Finn has no Force sensitivity or lightsaber skill whatsoever. Hear me out: we've seen Finn wield a lightsaber against Kylo Ren, but we have no idea if he actually knows how to use it. Looking at that gif below, Finn's nervously bobbing up and down, as if he's planning to dodge Kylo's lightsaber rather than block it. And that same image of trading cards list Finn as a Rebel, with no mention of him being a Jedi. 
Furthermore, it's become clear that there are quite a few big secrets that the filmmakers are hiding from us (Luke's fate, Andy Serkis' Supreme Leader Snoke, Starkiller Base, etc.), so doesn't it seem a bit weird that they would be unafraid to spoil that Finn can use a lightsaber? 

Maybe this is just one big trick, maybe Rey is the only one with the Jedi powers, and when Kylo Ren defeats her, Finn picks up Anakin's lightsaber (passed down to Rey from Leia, her mother) for a courageous yet futile attempt at destroying the villain. This would be the perfect way for the filmmakers to satisfy the fans' cravings with what appears to be a major spoiler, but turns out to be a lead-up to yet another big surprise during the movie.

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)

Here we have another safe bet at Skywalker blood. Kylo's surname comes from the Knights of Ren, meaning that his birth name could easily be Kylo Skywalker. He's got the Force powers -- as you can see from his mysterious interrogation of Poe Dameron below -- and he designed his own unique crossguard "plasma blade", meaning he has some serious mechanical skills. 
One of the most important (and only) facts we know about Kylo is that he's seriously obsessed with Darth Vader, and considers it to be his own responsibility to finish Vader's life work, whatever that may be. Now, it's highly plausible for any villain to be a fan of Vader, but Kylo's particular infatuation could be due to his blood relation with the Sith Lord. 

If Rey is Han and Leia's daughter, then Luke probably has a kid of his own, and that could easily be Kylo. Another fan theory is that Kylo is Rey's twin brother and another child of Han and Leia's, with his name coming from a mashup of his two parents (Skywalker/Solo). Regardless, he's a villain who could switch to the Light Side at the end of the film, mirroring his own idol, Vader. 

Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac)

Though Poe has yet to demonstrate any lightsaber or Force sensitivity in any of The Force Awakens' footage, there's still a good chance of him being a Skywalker. He's apparently the "best frickin' pilot in the galaxy", which is one of the defining qualities of both Anakin and Luke. 
Han Solo is also a great pilot (he made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs), so if Dameron was the son of Han and Leia, he would have piloting expertise on both sides of the family. And if someone with Force sensitivity (Leia) and someone without (Han) had kids, it would make perfect sense if one kid (Rey) had Force powers and the other (Poe) didn't. 

The main issue with this theory is that unlike Rey -- whose surname, along with Finn's, are unknown for "completely intentional" purposes, according to JJ Abrams -- Poe's last name has always been known to be Dameron. It comes from Abrams' assistant, Morgan Dameron, so it's unlikely to be a second first name. Poe's a member of the Resistance, along with Han and Leia, so he would definitely know if he was their son. Maybe he just uses the name Dameron because he doesn't want the huge reputation of the Skywalker name. 

General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie)

These are the only other actors whose age (early-mid 30s) makes their characters viable to be the children of any respective Original Trilogy characters. Gleeson was originally rumored to be playing the son of a Skywalker, but that was before we knew anything about his character. 
General Hux (left) and Captain Phasma (right) 
Now we know that Hux and Phasma are leaders of the First Order, with Hux directing Starkiller Base and Phasma commanding the battalion of stormtroopers. Though their characters will hopefully be developed more than your average power-hungry fiend, they're not important enough to turn out to be Skywalkers. The movie already has its redeemable villain (Kylo), so we need at least a few 100% evil villains who can die and/or return in Episode VIII to wreck more havoc. 

In conclusion, here's a graphic of my best guess at the new characters' positions in the Skywalker family tree: 

What are your thoughts on the parentage of The Force Awakens' new characters? Tell me in the comments, and may the Force be with you all. 


  1. Based on the family tree diagram, isnt Kylo supposed to be Hans Solo's son?

  2. @Irah this diagram is inaccurate. In the film, Kylo is (spoiler alert) explicitly confirmed to be Han's son, while Rey's parentage remains unknown (but highly debatable) and the comics revealed that Poe's parents are semi-unimportant Rebellion fighters.

  3. They SAY in the movie Kylo Ren is Han and Leia's kid

  4. and he still has a blood relation with Darth vader, since his mother is Leia, DV's daughter. DV is Kylo Ren's grandfather, but on his mother's side.

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  6. @Marie Delaroche this post was made over a month before the film came out, so no, it's not all accurate.