If you woke up this morning and your first thought was "damn, I really need a theory that explains the mysterious parentage of Rey by drawing a connection between Luke Skywalker, Emperor Palpatine and Supreme Leader Snoke", you might want to change the date on your phone to December 25, because Christmas just came early.
With this week's confirmation that Star Wars 8 will begin right where The Force Awakens left off, with Luke and Rey having come face-to-face for the first time (or not) atop that enormous rock, the connection between exiled Jedi master and the scavenger who describes herself as "no-one" finds itself questioned once again.
So, allow me to pose a theory which might explain exactly who "no-one" really is, and what the future holds for Rey beyond Episode VIII.
Is Rey Descended From Emperor Palpatine?
First things first: This theory runs with the common belief that Rey's father is Luke Skywalker. I previously wrote about my conviction that she is actually a Kenobi, but as plausible as that is, it does seem that the sequel trilogy is so completely centered around Luke that Rey being his daughter is kind of inevitable.
Clearly, we don't know what happened to Luke in the years between the death of Vader and his recruitment of students to train at the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4, but it's within the realm of probability that he met somebody and procreated. This is Star Wars: Everyone has kids all over the joint.
Now to the question of Rey's mother: What if she was a descendant of Emperor Palpatine? Count Dooku never revealed that the Emperor was in fact Darth Sidious, so there's no way of knowing whether or not the people of the New Republic ever became aware of his double identity, but let's imagine that, at least among some factions, word got out.
Crucially, Luke knew, and a personal connection with Palpatine is probably not something his wife or lover would want to become public knowledge. Something happened to frighten her — perhaps the secret of her bloodline was discovered, and a third party used the knowledge as blackmail material — causing Rey's mother to run away with the child. In theory, this could have happened before Rey's birth, before Luke even knew he had a daughter.
If the above sounds totally far-fetched, it's worth bearing in mind that Luke's wife in the Thrawn trilogy was Mara Jade, also known as the Hand of the Emperor — and although that has been struck from canon, Grand Admiral Thrawn's re-entry into official canon could signal the introduction of a character who parallels Mara Jade into the new trilogy, if not Mara Jade herself.
As for the fourth part of this equation: Could Supreme Leader Snoke also share DNA with Palpatine? I previously theorized exactly that, although Snoke's ancient appearance and the lack of certainly regarding his age makes it difficult to know exactly how old he is. Given that Leia made passing reference in The Force Awakens to Snoke preying on a young Ben Solo, it's possible that the Supreme Leader's deformity is a pretty recent development (otherwise, his presence around Ben Solo would most likely have raised alarm bells from the off). Could some type of recent Force experiment be responsible for his bizarre appearance? If that's the case, Snoke would not be so old as to rule out his being the son of Palpatine.
Now to the meat of the theory: Snoke is well-versed in the nuances of the Force, the contrast between the Dark Side and the Light, and the difficulties both Anakin and Ben Solo experienced in resisting the pull of the Dark. Essentially, he's using Kylo Ren as a pawn. His endgame is to gain access to Rey, the only living member of his bloodline (assuming that Rey's mother died, or simply fell off the grid), and ensure that she continues his work after the mysterious condition which transformed him physically ultimately claims his life.
It could even be that his goal is true immortality, and that by experimenting on himself (gradually sacrificing his own life in the process), he will be able to gift immortality to the young scavenger from Jakku — but only once she and Kylo Ren effectively swap roles, he repenting his sins and she succumbing to the darkness which The Force Awakens hinted might exist within her.
There's a lot of guesswork and a lot of presumption in this theory — it's not exactly rooted in hard evidence. Still, if it contains just a sliver of truth, it might also expose a problem with the sequel trilogy — in continuing to explore the allure of the Dark Side, and its openness to manipulation at the hands of power-crazed tyrants, it's really just continuing to tread ground already covered in the previous six episodes.
Snoke recruiting and grooming a protege has clear parallels with Palpatine and Anakin that border on parody. That said, it is a sequel, and Star Wars has room to explore new, thematically-fresh stories in the spin-offs.
Ultimately, we've already witnessed Snoke's extraordinary ability to take somebody from a safe environment and plunge them into personal turmoil, bending them to his will and throwing the equilibrium of the New Republic out of balance. The consequences with Kylo Ren were tragic — and if he succeeds in corrupting Rey, too, is there any hope for the Resistance? This story could have a very dark ending.
Star Wars: Episode VIII hits theaters December 15, 2017. That's a whole lotta time for thinking up theories, so if you have one stronger than mine (or just a reason this one can't possibly be right) make your voice heard in the comments.