ByTom Tennant, writer at
Editor/publisher of (@midwestmovies) and MarvelCinematicUniversity (@marvelcineuniv)
Tom Tennant

Since Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens debuted last month, I can’t stop thinking about Rey and her origin.

We don’t know much about her. What we do know is like a puzzle frame - pieces that fit together to provide some semblance of shape. But with so many pieces missing from the middle, it’s impossible to see the whole picture.

What we do know comes from her vision on Takodona when Rey touches Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber. The one given to Luke by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Originally his father, the big man, Anakin "Darth Vader" Skywalker. Many of Rey's visions suggest she is related to Luke and the Skywalker clan.

A post on Screenrant sums up that likely connection nicely. “Sure, she may possess the same knack for combat, desert life, engineering, electrical and robotic work, and piloting, and she may even possess a Rebel pilot helmet and a Rebel pilot doll,” it reads. “But the fact that memories of her own childhood are placed alongside visions of only Skywalker family members may be the strongest piece of evidence that Rey really is Luke’s daughter.”

But what of Rey’s mother?

If we believe Rey is Luke’s daughter (and I do), who is Rey’s mother? Why is she missing from Rey’s vision? Where is she from? What influence did she have on Rey? And why aren’t we talking more about her?

All of this is very exciting because it means she could be anyone. And she could mean everything to the story.

Maybe she is powerful in the Force. Maybe she was once Luke’s padawan. Maybe her name is Ren.

Thanks anonymous cosplayer!
Thanks anonymous cosplayer!

Rey’s mother is Ren Skywalker? C’mon, man

It’s pure speculation, with little evidence to support the idea. I'll give you that right off the crack of the bat. Except, from a storytelling point of view, a mother named Ren seems to work within the story.

Consider Rey’s vision once more. And hang with me while we make some big assumptions.

Let’s start by moving around moments from Rey's vision to form a linear story. One that looks something like this:

  • Luke forms an academy for new Jedi.
  • Han and Leia give birth to Ben Solo.
  • Ben displays strength in the Force.
  • Rey is born.
  • Luke begins tutoring Ben in the ways of the Force.
  • Ben turns to the dark side.
  • Ben changes his name to Kylo Ren and joins (or founds) the Knights of Ren.
  • Kylo Ren becomes a student (or underling) of Supreme Leader Snoke.
  • Rey is secretly transported to Jakku. (You could make an argument that Rey is hidden because the Knights of Ren know she’s powerful with the Force and have come for her specifically - in which case Rey may be hidden before the Knights destroy Luke’s school. You know. Dark side prophecies and all.)
  • Kylo Ren destroys Luke’s academy.
  • Luke puts Artoo to sleep and goes into hiding.

Once you consider Rey's mother and her possible impact on Rey's life, a lot of holes open up in that timeline. Understanding that Rey’s mother may have been powerful in the Force only makes those plot points more tantalizing.

Why couldn't Ren be a (ahem) redhead?
Why couldn't Ren be a (ahem) redhead?

Adding Ren Skywalker to the timeline creates chilling conflict

Quick note. I love Mara Jade. She's an amazing character. I hope the powers-that-be at Lucasfilm decide she's worthy of making the move from the Expanded Universe to the new canon. Even if she's re-imagined. (Maybe they give her a new first name? Ren Mara Jade? Run with that if you want to see Mara back in the SWU.)

With that out of the way, let’s explore the timeline with Ren included. Note that the timeline covers large swaths of time (for example, the years between Ben Solo and Rey's birth), and bullet points may not adequately capture that:

  • Luke forms an academy for new Jedi.
  • He takes on his first padawan, a young woman named Ren Antilles. (Note that I’m using the last name Antilles as the Star Wars equivalent of “Smith.” Again, if you'd like, call her Ren Mara Jade)
  • Han and Leia give birth to Ben Solo.
  • Ben displays strength in the Force.
  • Luke and Ren develop a romantic relationship. The relationship may be completely above board. Luke may decide that the new Jedi Order should allow relationships, believing they strengthen and secure family bonds. But I prefer the relationship to be more of a secret tryst. Few, if any, know Luke and Ren are together.
  • Luke considers the tryst a distraction from his important Jedi work. One that Jedis must be above.
  • Ren says she agrees, but she's lying. Inside, she reels from Luke’s rebuff. A great rift is formed between the two - one fueled by anger and pain. Seeds of the dark side. And she decides she won't share an important secret with him. Ren is pregnant.

Ren seeks revenge

  • Ren departs Luke’s Academy, though he begs her to remain and complete her training.
  • Rey is born.
  • Ren returns to the Academy with Rey. She senses Rey is strong in the Force, as does Luke.
  • But Ren refuses to reveal that Luke is Rey’s father. She lies to him, and refuses to acknowledge the truth. There's little Luke can do.
  • Luke begins tutoring Ben in the ways of the Force.
  • Luke also begins teaching the very young Rey, mostly in stolen moments between the two.
  • Ren grows jealous of the growing padawan relationship between Luke and Ben, as well as friendship with Rey. That jealousy, focused on Ben and his parents, especially Luke’s sister, coupled with the anger and pain she feels toward Luke, pushes Ren to the dark side.
  • Ren seeks revenge on Luke.

Luring Ben Solo to the dark side

  • Ren begins tempting Ben with the power of the dark side. She plants seeds of discontent between the padawan and his teacher. Suggests that he is not as pious as he pretends to be. More importantly, she tells Ben all about his grandfather and the power and influence he wielded throughout the galaxy. The two develop a relationship similar to Anakin and Palpatine.
  • Ben ebbs and flows between the light and the dark.
  • Luke senses the disturbance in the Force. He realizes what Ren is doing to his nephew. He also comes to understand that Ren will lead Rey down the same path. And that Rey could very well be strong in the Force as well.
  • Luke enlists his brother-in-law in a secret mission. One Han must promise to never share with another soul. Not Chewie. Not Leia.
  • Rey is secretly transported to Jakku by Han Solo
Hey! Those staffs look awfully familiar
Hey! Those staffs look awfully familiar

Ben becomes Kylo Ren

  • Ben learns of the Rey’s disappearance. He realizes Luke has sent her away and suspects his father was involved. Ben does not know Rey is his cousin. He only knows that Rey is the daughter of his new mentor, Ren.
  • Ben informs Ren of Luke’s “betrayal.”
  • Ren confronts Luke. The two do battle. Luke defeats Ren, but does not kill her. Instead, she disappears, her spirit broken.
  • Ben turns to the dark side. He feels abandoned by Ren, betrayed by Luke and ignored by his parents. Typical teen angst with a Force twist.
  • Ben changes his name to Kylo Ren and joins (or founds) the Knights of Ren. I like the idea that Kylo founds the Knights in the name of his former mentor. It would also have significant impact on Luke.
  • Kylo Ren becomes a student (or underling) of Supreme Leader Snoke. I also like the concept that Snoke knows of Ren and may be teaching her as well, waiting until the right moment to reintroduce her to Kylo Ren. After all, if Luke and Rey become a team, why not mirror them against Kylo and Ren?
  • Kylo Ren destroys Luke’s academy.
  • Luke puts Artoo to sleep and goes into hiding. Artoo maintains the secret to Luke’s location until the moment is right.
  • Han agrees to secretly keep watch on Rey until she’s old enough to find her own way to Luke.
Hey Rey! You're mom's calling you!
Hey Rey! You're mom's calling you!

Dude, Luke and Rey versus Ren and Kylo? That’s cracker jack

Is it? After all, the concept follows themes and stories already woven into the Star Wars fabric. The notion of the light and dark side pulling apart - and bringing together - fathers and sons. Children taken away from their parents earlier in their childhood. Parents and mentors becoming the catalyst for our heroes - and villains - actions and decisions.

Furthermore, Ren - or a matriarchal character like her - provides the connective tissue between a lot of questions we have about Episode 7 and the answers that could be. Rey’s parental influence. The push toward the dark side Ben initially receives. Why Rey is hidden. Why Luke is hiding. And more.

Is it on target? Maybe? Probably not? But who knows?

As long as Rey's parents aren't midichlorians.


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