Warning: This post contains spoilers for [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158). If you have not yet seen the films and you do not want anything spoiled for you, please click away now. You have been warned.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was an amazing experience. From the nostalgic throwbacks to the original trilogy to the brand new characters and locations, it is definitely a fun film to watch. Though exploring the galaxy with Finn and Rey was fun enough on its own, a large part of the atmosphere was the element of mystery. Who is Supreme Leader Snoke? What happened to Kylo Ren? And perhaps most the most important question: who is Rey?
When we first meet Rey on Jakku, we learn that she is waiting there for her family, though we don't quite know who her family is. We learn that she is very tech-savvy, and later in the film we even learn that she has a strong connection with the Force. These details open up many possibilities for Rey's backstory, and we got a brief glimpse of her life in Maz Kanata's base, when she happens upon Luke Skywalker's lightsaber.
In a flurry of images, we see some very important scenes of both Rey and Kylo Ren. At the beginning of the vision, we hear brief audio clips of Darth Vader's labored breathing and a quote from Yoda: "The Force surrounds us". Vader's breathing could hint toward Rey's suspected Skywalker heritage, and Yoda's dialogue was likely hinting at Rey's natural talent with the Force.
The scenery then changes to what appears to be a rocky cavern, where we see a hooded Luke Skywalker next to R2-D2. There isn't much to read into this scene, other than the fact that this part of the vision takes place before Luke vanishes, as we see R2 there as well. As C-3PO said, R2 went into low-power mode once Luke left.
The next scene in the vision is where things get interesting. We see Kylo Ren slaughter what we can only assume is a Jedi Padawan, and then we see him and the rest of the Knights of Ren standing over a field of corpses. This seems to be the event that Han was talking about, where one of Luke's trainees went rogue and turned against him.
The rogue in question is obviously Kylo Ren, so it seems likely that we witnessed the massacre of Luke's pupils. But then that raises an important question: how does Rey know about this? How could her vision show her this very specific moment in the past? It's simple really. She was there.
Whether she was Luke's daughter or not, it seems like Rey started out as one of his pupils at a very young age. However, after Ren's massacre, she was sent to Jakku for her own safety. That would make her the sole survivor, and basically the last hope for the Jedi.
Of course I'm not asking you to blindly believe my interpretation of this scene, but after watching the film three times, I've collected some compelling evidence to prove my case.
Ren Remembers Her
When a First Order officer comes to tell Ren that FN-2187 and BB-8 escaped on a Corellian freighter, he responds by lashing out and destroying a computer console with his crossguard lightsaber. However, when the same officer mentions that they were accompanied by a girl, Ren immediately chokes him before angrily uttering two simple words.
He asks that like he has suspicions of who it could be, like he ran into a particular girl in his past. He also treats her differently than his other enemies. When he captures her and brings her to Starkiller Base, they have a moment where she uses the Force to access his mind. In true Kylo Ren fashion, he should have freaked out and struck her down then and there, but he spared her and walked away.
Rey Knows How To Use The Force
We've seen other young Force-sensitive individuals before. We've seen young Anakin and young Luke on Tatooine, but no matter how strong in the Force they were, they weren't able to practice the Force. Without warning in the third act of the film, Rey uses both Jedi mind tricks and she uses the force to pull a lightsaber out of the snow.
That opens the door to two possibilities. Either Rey is the strongest Jedi ever, or she had prior training. If she had learned even the basics from studying under Luke, if would become much more of a possibility for her to use Force abilities.
Luke Has Definitely Seen Her Before
At the very end of the film when Rey finally finds an old, wizened, Luke Skywalker, he gives her a look that says more than words ever could. It's not just that he didn't expect her to find him. Luke probably sensed her the second she entered the system with Chewie. He gives her a look of someone who's seen a ghost. He has definitely seen her before, long ago, which makes sense if she was one of his pupils (or better yet, his daughter).
But Why Did Ren Spare Her?
If my interpretation is accurate and Rey was the sole survivor of the Ren massacre, why was she spared? Well, this ties in with another popular theory about Rey's heritage. There are two major schools of thought on her parents. Either her parents are Han and Leia, or Luke and a mystery woman. Either way, that leaves one thing very clear. Her and Kylo Ren are family.
When we saw Kylo Ren (or Ben Solo rather) struck down Han, we could see the pure pain in his eyes. Before he committed to the deed he stated that he knew what he had to do, he just didn't know if he could do it. He didn't want to kill his own father, just like he didn't want to kill his own sister/cousin all those years ago.
But Why Doesn't Rey Remember Ben?
If Rey really did remember Ben Solo as a fellow trainee and family member, surely that would have come up at some point with Han or Finn. Unless of course she forgot.
We've seen that Kylo Ren is different from other Dark Side users in one major way. His abilities focus on his opponent's mind. Though he may enjoy freezing people in their place, we frequently see him infiltrating Poe's and Rey's minds, and he even knocked Rey unconscious with a flourish of his hand.
With such powerful mind powers, he probably could have made her forget the massacre rather than striking her down. Then her parents could have found her and dropped her off at Jakku so that she would be safe from Ren and the First Order.
Of course my theory isn't canon at all, but after watching The Force Awakens three times, this is the best I could make sense of things. Perhaps even more clues will present themselves upon my fourth and fifth showings. What do you think of my theory? Is it plausible or pure poppycock? Make sure to leave your opinions in the comments below!