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[Warning: This story contains plot details from Star Wars: The Force Awakens that could be considered spoilers. Read further at your own risk.]
While Star Wars: The Force Awakens answers most of the questions it asks during its runtime — even if, in at least a couple of cases, the answer is somewhat half-hearted or appearing out of nowhere (“Oh, Luke? He’s right over there, we had the rest of the map all along”) — the fact that it doesn’t do anything beyond hinting at a resolution to the mystery of Rey is something that, judging by the reaction of fans on social media, is distracting at best, and infuriating at worst.
Rey is very purposefully created to be a mystery — to herself, as well as to the other characters. This point is continually driven home through dialogue and events. She’s an excellent pilot, a skilled mechanic, and someone who instinctively knew how to use a Jedi mind trick without being trained in the ways of the Force (probably).
So, who is Rey? Why was she on Jakku, who is she waiting for to return, and what makes her so adept at the Force that Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber literally called out to her? Here are the leading possibilities currently being shared.
She’s Luke Skywalker’s Daughter
The climax of the movie certainly hints at this possibility — why else would Rey travel to deliver the lightsaber to Luke and not return to Jakku, which she’s continually said was her ultimate destination? It might explain why Rey is such a good pilot, as well; both Luke and Luke’s own father, Anakin, were pilots. Anakin was also given to tinkering with technology — he built C3PO, remember — which might also explain why Rey is such a dab hand at engineering. But if Rey is Luke’s daughter, why would she think that Luke Skywalker was a myth?
She’s Han Solo and Leia Organa’s Daughter
Before the movie was released, there were many rumors claiming that Rey would be the offspring of Han and Leia, and it’s easy to see why: a great pilot who can handle the Millennium Falcon (like Han) but has Force awareness (like Leia)? Add to that, the similarity between the names of Kylo Ren and Rey, and the potential for a brother vs. sister conflict to play off the father vs. son conflict of the original trilogy, and it’s a theory that remains very tempting after watching the new movie. Except that, of course, Rey met Han and Leia, and none of them seemed to recognize the other.
She’s Ben Kenobi’s Granddaughter
A wild card in terms of explanations, but there’s certainly nothing to contradict the idea that, at some point between Episodes III and IV of the series, Obi-Wan Kenobi had a family of his own in secret, and Rey comes from that bloodline. It would explain her affinity to the Force, and arguably even why Luke’s lightsaber called to her — in that Kenobi had kept the weapon with him for many years before passing it on to Luke. But if this were the case, then why would she be abandoned on Jakku by her family?
None Of The Above
Of course, there’s always the potential that her repeated mentions of family are a red herring — I know, I know, unlikely in a series where familial connections have proven to be so important — and that her parentage is of little importance whatsoever. Instead, let’s wonder why she was left on Jakku. What if she wasn’t abandoned by her family, but instead by Luke, because she is the last remaining member of his Jedi class after Kylo Ren turned to the Dark Side, and he Force-wiped her mind of her training and her past to keep her safe?
Sure, it’s potentially overly complicated, but it’s also in keeping with the series as we know it, and especially with the Force Awakens‘ love of re-enacting the original trilogy; in those movies, don’t forget, both Luke and Leia are revealed to have been hidden away from their father to keep them safe, with their true Force-sensitive natures being kept secret from them their whole lives. Her situation on Jakku — another desert planet, like Tatooine where Luke was hidden — would already seem to be a callback to that piece of series mythology, after all.
Whatever the answer to Rey ends up being is likely to remain a mystery at least until summer 2017, when Star Wars: Episode VIII is released. Until that time, may the speculation be with you … always. Or, you know, for seventeen months or so.
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The Bad Guys