Without question, the most furious debate to come out of Star Wars: The Force Awakens concerns the lineage of the film’s heroine, Rey. Three staunch schools of thought seem to revolve around the issue: one holding that she’s the long-lost sister of Kylo Ren/Ben Solo, another that she’s the progeny of Luke Skywalker, and another that she’s daughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi. On the latter point, Kenobi’s age in A New Hope negates the possibility that Rey could be his daughter; she’d be in her mid-40s by the time of The Force Awakens at absolute youngest. On the other hand, she could still be a Kenobi—perhaps Obi-Wan’s granddaughter.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
To solve the mystery of Rey’s lineage, bare in mind two principles about The Force Awakens. Foremost, the film is a rehash of A New Hope operating under almost identical story structure, plot points and characterization. It is therefore only logical that the outcomes of The Force Awakens should mirror those set up in A New Hope. Furthermore, The Force Awakens is in no way a subtle movie. How many times are we reminded that Kylo Ren is Han Solo’s son? Or that Luke Skywalker is the last Jedi? Or that the First Order grew out of the Dark Side of the Force? Or that Snoke corrupted Ben Solo into becoming Kylo Ren?
You get the point. Though marketing of the film would suggest otherwise, The Force Awakens is not a sneaky film, laying the groundwork for labyrinthine plot twists to come. Rather, the mysteries are on par with those of Scooby Doo where the most obvious suspect usually ends up being the one hiding behind the monster mask.
Here are 11 Reasons Why Rey Is Actually Rey Skywalker
11. The Dreamer
Much like Luke in A New Hope, Rey dreams of getting off the desert planet Jakku and moving on to a life of adventure with her lost family. The scene of her eating dinner alongside the downed AT-AT specifically recalls Luke staring off into the sunsets on Tatooine. Rey sees a ship taking off into the stars, however it symbolizes her enduring hope of getting off-world.
From a screenwriter’s perspective, the scene also sets Rey up as the “Luke” of the new sequel trilogy. Remember, because everything in The Force Awakens shadows A New Hope, Rey’s ambitions will match those of the original trilogy protagonist: Luke Skywalker. This mirroring alone does not prove she’s Luke’s daughter, but because the Star Wars films are about parents and their children, the logical continuation of that trend would mean the new trilogy would follow the adventures of Luke’s child.
10. The Sand
Rey grows up on a the desert planet of Jakku, much in the way Luke and Anakin both grew up on Tatooine. Anakin grew up scavenging junk as a slave to the alien Watto, while Luke grew up buying junk from Jawas as a poor farmer. Rey’s story, in essence, amalgamates those of Luke and Anakin: she’s a poor scavenger working for the sadistic alien Unkar Plutt. Rey’s dependence on Plutt might as well make her his slave, while their wheeling and dealing of junk recalls the haggling between Luke and the Jawas. In the tone poem that is the Star Wars storyline, the movie sets Rey up as the new generation of Skywalker leads.
9. Natural Pilot
Like Anakin and Luke, Rey demonstrates amazing abilities when it comes to mechanics and spaceflight. She flies the Millennium Falcon in a thrilling air speed chase and battle without any prior experience doing so, much as Anakin did during the battle with the Trade Federation in The Phantom Menace, or as Luke did in the trenches of the Death Star. She also has a remarkable sense of timing – just as Luke uses his intuition with the Force to fire his torpedoes at the correct, precise movement to destroy the Death Star, Rey knows when to flip the Millennium Falcon to fire on a TIE Fighter.
Later, aboard Han Solo’s freighter, she also knows when to close the blast doors, dismembering a radar and saving Finn’s life. Rey’s technical inclinations manifest again when she bypasses a circuit on the Falcon bridge—even Han Solo seems impressed. Since piloting and a knack with mechanics would seem to run in the Skywalker family, Rey’s talents would indicate she’s of the bloodline.
8. Force Sensitive
One of The Force Awakens’ most controversial choices finds Rey using powerful Jedi techniques, seemingly without any training at all. Fans will debate the meaning of Rey’s powers until the end of time, or at least until another movie provides an actual answer. In the sole context of the existing seven films, however, it would seem Rey would need some kind of Jedi training in order to accomplish what she does, whether she remembers it or not. Where else could she learn the ways of the Force but from the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker?
Again, following the notion that Rey is a surrogate for Luke in a remake of A New Hope, her exile on Jakku begins to make sense: the daughter of the last Jedi, she began training as a child before her cousin Ben Solo went berserk and killed all their fellow students. Knowing that he would be Kylo Ren’s ultimate target, Luke had to separate from his daughter, leaving her on a desert planet for her own protection. He would return for her when the time was right. In the meantime, young Rey would have the watchful eye of Luke’s old friend Lor San Tekka upon her. Is it any coincidence then that Tekka has the final piece of the map needed to find Luke?
7. Saber Calling
The resurgence of Anakin/Luke’s blue-bladed lightsaber confounds the Star Wars audience—just how did it end up in the possession of Maz Kanata? Apparently an early draft of the script contained a much longer version of Rey’s visions in Maz’s castle, including a scavenger on the surface of Bespin finding the saber after it had fallen from Cloud City. After years of it changing hands, Maz recognized it and took it to her castle for safekeeping.
Maz tells Rey that the lightsaber calls to her—the weapon of Anakin and his son, Luke. The line establishes that the saber, much like the warrior swords of Arthurian myth, is a family heirloom, passed from parent to child. Rey’s attraction to the lightsaber would indicate that she is Luke’s child.
But why the fear? At this point, we can only speculate, though it may have something to do with her missing memories, and the film’s banal title. The titular “awakening” would refer to Rey’s Force powers, which she has not used since childhood. Whatever process Luke used to wipe Rey’s memory would also instill a fear of using the Force. If Rey did use the Force at an inopportune moment, it’s possible Kylo Ren and Snoke would sense her presence, and eventually find her.
6. Drawn To Luke
The mention of Luke Skywalker’s name makes Rey’s eyes blaze with hope. Her attraction to him, much like her attraction to his lightsaber, suggests a deeper connection through the Force, or possibly through DNA. Furthermore, in Kylo Ren’s interrogation of her, he calls out Rey’s hopes and dreams–specifically her yearning for a father figure, and her visions of a far off island. Ren notes that Rey sees Han Solo as a father figure, but warns that Han would disappoint her. Claimants that Han is the actual father of Rey like to cite this passage as evidence to support their argument, but a closer examination clarifies that Ren is speaking to his own feelings, not Rey’s.
The mention of the island bares noting, however, since the description Ren gives is identical to the island on which Rey actually finds Luke. This specific instant hearkens to Luke’s own recognition of Dagobah when he seeks Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. Presumably, Luke, through the Force, had visions of his own future training there. Rey has a similar circumstance in The Force Awakens–the Force leads her to Ahch-To, the planet where Luke waits in exile. This association does not prove his parentage, though it does relay an intense, emotional connection between the two.
5. Force Abilities
Detractors of The Force Awakens, most notably writer Max Landis, have derided the film and the character Rey as a “Mary Sue,” a piece of masterful fan fiction. Whether or not that is true, Rey does, indisputably, demonstrate crazy, powerful Force abilities, seeming without any training at all. Whether or not you agree with Landis’ points, he does make one inarguable declaration: without further backstory or reasoning, Rey’s powers make no sense at all and seem to violate Star Wars convention. The Force Awakens commits a sin of laziness by not explaining how Rey is able to defeat Kylo Ren, a dark Force user trained by Snoke and by Luke Skywalker.
The explanation for her power can go one of two ways: either later movies reveal that she did have previous training which she somehow forgot, or she didn’t, in which case, she is a Mary Sue character, and the entire film The Force Awakens disintegrates under the weight of flaccid storytelling.
4. A Known Quantity
Both the movie novelization and the screenplay to The Force Awakens reveal some nuanced bits of information lost in the final film. For starters, in her lightsaber duel with Kylo Ren, the two have an exchange, and Ren lets slip a bombshell:
Rey appeared equally shocked that her reach for the device had exceeded his. She gazed down at the weapon now resting in her grip.
“It is you,” Ren murmured.
In short, he knows her. Just how and why, and why this intimidates Ren remains shrouded in mystery. Given their ages, however–Kylo Ren about 30, and Rey about 19–and given that the novel also specifies Han hasn’t seen his son in 15 years or so, simple math would denote that Rey would have only been about 4 years old at the time of the fall of the Second Academy. Rey’s flashback also suggests that she may have witnessed the attack on the Jedi Academy, as evidenced in the montage. Some have claimed that Kylo Ren is actually protecting her in this sequence, though the dress of the character he kills does not match that of the other Knights of Ren. Furthermore, the script refers to the dying man as a “warrior,” not a Knight of Ren.
3. Han & Leia Never Mention A Daughter
Proabably the biggest problem with the Han and Leia’s daughter/Ben’s sister theory is that neither Han nor Leia acknowledge another child. While they reminisce and mourn the loss of their son to the Dark Side a great deal, that they would not in any way miss or discuss their daughter seems preposterous. Han is not at all protective of Rey; in fact, he makes no effort to stop Kylo Ren from kidnapping her. Likewise, only Finn seems desperate to save Rey, and to Leia finding her is a minor priority.
Is this really how two people regard their daughter?
2. She Hears Obi Wan
Another popular theory holds that Rey is somehow the child or descendent of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Note here that it is possible that she is descended from Kenobi, while still related to Luke. Luke may well have met Obi-Wan’s daughter, and the two had a child. The theory has two problems, however.
First, for Obi-Wan to have a child during his exile on Tatooine feels like a stretch, especially considering he’d just watched his best friend and the Jedi Order destroyed by actions stemming from love of a woman. The films thus far have been hazy regarding Jedi marriage and parenting, though they suggest that the Jedi are a solitary, if not celibate bunch. Besides, by the time of A New Hope Obi-Wan leads the life of a hermit. Considering his isolation and readiness to leave home with Luke on an adventure, he either has no running attachments to anyone else, or is, quite simply, the worst parent ever.
The idea that Luke is Rey’s father poses a similar issue: who was his wife/Rey’s mother, and where is she? It’s possible that she was actually the one to deposit Rey on Jakku, though she would have to be an awful mother to leave her in the slave driving hands of Plutt. It’s also possible that she died in the Jedi purge.
The movie may offer a clue: in the image above, Luke stands next to a large, flat rock. It could be mere coincidence, but it looks a lot like some kind of grave marker. That would also explain why Luke stands next to it: he’s mourning the loss of his wife.
1. This Is Star Wars
Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy has said that the “saga” films of the Star Wars series–that is, the various episodes–will always revolve around the Skywalker family. This keeps with George Lucas’ assertion that Star Wars is actually a family soap opera. For that sole reason, the hero of the series must be a Skywalker. Granted, it’s possible that Rey could redeem Kylo Ren in Episode 8, and that he could have a second life as a Jedi, father children, and keep the saga going. But given that he murders his own father in The Force Awakens, the chances of swift redemption seem slim. That puts the burden of heroism on the other new characters, Finn and Rey. And given the events of The Force Awakens, the most likely candidate to follow the Skywalker path remains Rey.
Call her Rey Skywalker.