Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Analyzing Rey's Parentage

Star Wars: The Force Awakens left quite a few lingering questions, but the biggest by far was, who are Rey's parents? She was heavily rumored to be Kylo Ren's twin sister and the daughter of Han and Leia, and though Kylo was explicitly stated to be their child, Rey's parentage was left open-ended...and highly debatable. I'm taking a look at the most popular possibilities and weighing their likelihood. 
She's Obi-Wan's granddaughter

Supporting evidence:
  • She demonstrates extreme Force sensitivity, from Obi-Wan?
  • Though love is forbidden for Jedi, Kenobi had a romance with Duchess Satine Kryze of Mandalore in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (which is completely canon, FYI). This connection could make Rey an heir to the throne of Mandalore, which could lead to the official cinematic introduction of the fan-favorite warriors known as the Mandalorians. 
    Duchess Satine (left); the Mandalorians (right)
  • While John Boyega uses an American accent as Finn, Daisy Ridley keeps her British accent as Rey, just like Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan/Ben Kenobi. 
  • During Rey's vision, a combination of McGregor's and Guinness' voices say "Rey, these are your first steps."
  • She (hilariously) uses the Jedi mind trick, which Kenobi first introduced in A New Hope.
  • After escaping from Kylo's clutches, she sneaks around the Starkiller just like Kenobi in the Death Star in A New Hope
  • The Skywalker lightsaber would still call to her, since the inner kyber crystal bonds to its owner, and Obi-Wan held onto the lightsaber for almost 20 years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope
  • Her tan desert garb is reminiscent of the robes that Obi-Wan wore. 
Opposing evidence:
  • Obi-Wan and Satine clearly loved each other, but they were always too busy avoiding assassins and whatnot to physically act on their love. And it seems unlikely that Satine would have birthed their child in secret.
  • It's quite possible that Ridley kept her accent just because it was easier for her, and/or JJ Abrams thought it sounded more natural.
  • If Rey was instead a Skywalker, or even if she was unrelated to anyone important, Kenobi's ghost would still probably communicate with her because she represents the next generation of Jedi. 
  • The filmmakers have confirmed that the new trilogy is about the next generation of Skywalkers; Kylo can't be the only one, so Rey seems like the best bet as a sister or cousin. 
She's Han and Leia's daughter

Supporting evidence:
  • She demonstrates extreme Force sensitivity, from Leia and Anakin by extension? 
  • She demonstrates extreme piloting skills, from both Han's and Leia's sides of the family? 
  • When Rey first enters the Millennium Falcon, she seems to know it backwards and forwards and pilots it with expertise. 
  • She later co-pilots the ship with Han and even finishes his sentences as he explains the various technical details. 
  • Kylo seems to know who Rey is before they even meet. 
  • When Kylo probes her mind, he sees that she feels like Han Solo is the father she never had, and he taunts her, saying that Han would have only disappointed her. 
  • When Rey arrives on the Resistance base, Leia wordlessly approaches and embraces her. 
  • Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has said that there "could" be more twins in the Skywalker family; Rey could be Kylo's twin. 
Opposing evidence:
  • Han and Leia would have naturally mentioned their daughter on Jakku while woefully discussing their estranged son's turn to the Dark Side.
  • Leia would still hug Rey if she was her niece, rather than her daughter. In fact, after presumably hearing about Rey from Han and Finn, and having some idea of the ordeal Rey had just gone through, Leia would probably have hugged her no matter their familial connection or lack thereof. 
She's Luke's daughter

Supporting evidence:
  • She demonstrates extreme Force sensitivity, from Luke? 
  • Though love is forbidden for Jedi, in the Expanded Universe, Luke marries Mara Jade and has a son, Ben Skywalker, with her. Regardless of Jade's inclusion in the new canon, Luke wouldn't necessarily have to follow the old Jedi rules against romantic relationships. 
  • When Kylo probes her mind, he sees that she dreams of an ocean planet with a lone island, which exactly matches the planet Luke is on at the end of the film. 
  • She demonstrates extreme piloting skills, passed down from Anakin to Luke to her? 
  • Her entire character arc is reminiscent of Luke's: young desert dweller meets astromech droid with valuable information, embarks on a journey with a ragtag group of friends to destroy a planet-destroying superweapon, uses the Force to win the climactic battle. 
  • When she arrives on the Resistance base, R2-D2 spontaneously awakes after spending decades in low power mode due to Luke's absence. Did he somehow detect the presence of his master's daughter? 
  • The final scene of the film (Rey offering the lightsaber to Luke with a pleading look in her eyes) would be most meaningful if she was his daughter. 
Opposing evidence:
  • Since Luke is the only other Jedi in the galaxy, and he's at the first Jedi temple, it's possible that Rey would still dream of his location even if she wasn't his daughter. 
  • All of this explicit evidence that she's Luke's daughter, rather than the more subtle evidence that she's a Kenobi, could indicate an attempt by the filmmakers to throw us in the wrong direction. 
She's unrelated to any familiar characters

Supporting evidence:
  • This twist would be unexpected and set up Rey as a fresh, new character, who owes their Force-wielding, Falcon-flying awesomeness to themselves, not their genes. 
Opposing evidence:
  • This would also be a huge letdown for much of the audience. Rey's past, present, and future relationships with Luke, Leia, Han, Kylo, and more would be significantly less meaningful, as well as every choice she takes on her path to becoming a Jedi. 

If there's one thing to take away from this, it's that someone really wants us to be confused. They knew that this would be one of the most debated topics after the film's release, so they sprinkled in about a dozen pieces of conflicting evidence. She talks like Obi-Wan, she looks like Padmé, she duels like Palpatine, and she dreams about Luke. Did some mad scientist just take the DNA of all the coolest people in the galaxy and splice it into one girl? One thing's for sure, the truth will be revealed sometime soon, hopefully in Episode VIII
Who do you think are Rey's ancestors? Tell me in the comments, and may the Force be with you. 

1 comment:

  1. Look at Rey's lightsaber fighting techniques. The only other character we have seen fight like that is Darth Sidious.

    Interestingly enough, Finn fights like Luke did, and Kylo Ren fights like Mace Windu. Make of that what you will.