One of the things I love reading most about Star Wars: The Force Awakens are the many fan theories that seem to be emerging about where the story might go next. What I love even more is that many of those theories happen to be incredibly convincing, given what we know about this epic saga. So there is reason to believe that at least some may come to fruition!
To that end, I'd like to share one of my own. But I have to admit something. This article had originally started off as giving reasons why Rey is NOT Luke Skywalker's daughter, yet the more I wrapped my head around what I was writing in the process, the more I realized that, holy crap, I could be so very wrong! So I have resolved to make this a speculative piece instead.
Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, reportedly convinced J.J. Abrams to helm this new movie by asking the simple--yet loaded--question: Who is Luke Skywalker?
Now there has obviously been much speculation surrounding the origins of Rey's character and how she got dropped off on Jakku. But realistically, I believe it's most likely she can only be one person, and that would be the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa. I'll be discussing why I believe that in the points below, as well as considering the possibility I am wrong. Supporting evidence (and some hopeful allusions) will be shown for both cases. Here we go!
1. The Rules of the Jedi Order
Remember this scene from Attack of the Clones?
If you take a look at real-world monastic orders whose very existence depends on ascetism, the Jedi seem to take many philosophical elements from both Buddhist and Christian monks. One of the many demands of joining such orders is that one must leave their family behind and forsake all worldly attachments (especially concerning romantic love), as they are viewed as a hindrance to your spiritual development. The type of daily cleansing rituals of floors and walls and other labor which to outsiders seems excessive, is also intended to clear the mind.
As Yoda says, "You must unlearn what you have learned." And that quote, more than any other, speaks volumes to me about Rey's character.
Is it possible that Rey was purposely dropped off on Jakku by Han Solo under the direction of Luke for that very reason, as well as to keep her away from the dark influence of Kylo Ren, thus severing her familial bonds and allowing her to come to the Force on her own terms with patience?
But then again...just what are those familial bonds?
She is not part of an order and neither was Luke Skywalker, but he was trained by two masters who were. Which leads me to my next point.
2. There Is No Evidence To Suggest Luke Would Harbor Romantic Interests For Anyone
Throughout the entire original trilogy, Luke's journey and concentration is on the Force at all times, period. Nothing else has so strong a hold or presence in his life. His only love or compassion is for his friends, and even then, his persona is very much that of a loner. His path is his alone, and he forsakes everything for it. Yoda even has to remind him of this when he wants to travel to Bespin to save Han and Leia. Attachments are still a hindrance, and that doesn't seem to be a rule for Luke so much as a way of life later in the series, though he has trouble at first.
But think about that again...if attachments are forbidden, and one must give up attachments to be a great Jedi Master, it's possible--if Rey is his daughter, or even if she was just a very well-loved student of his--that he would feel the need to give her up. Especially if he failed with Kylo Ren and had to retreat into hiding. It would allow them both to regain their bearings and come back stronger to defeat him and Snoak.
Wiping Rey's mind and dropping her off on Jakku is certainly within the realm of possibility (and already a prevalent fan theory).
And she certainly seems to share his traits of being a loner, who must then forsake certain attachments in her own life--namely Han, and later Finn. But of course this is true of all Jedi, and she seems to have an easier time with it than most. Which brings me to another point...
3. Rey Is A Seamlessly Perfect Character...But There's A Reason For That
If you've watched the film more than once, you probably caught onto something a little odd. Some have noticed it the first time through, but it bears a careful analysis: Rey has few character flaws, if any (a fiction trope popularly termed "Mary Sue"). Her only one defining feature that could even be remotely considered as such is that she's an orphan--or appears to be so (and that's not even really a flaw).
Otherwise, she speaks to droids with no problem. She understands the Wookiee language. Even more perplexing is that she seems to have a rather firm grip of the Force and some decent lightsaber skills, along with her abilities as a pilot. And if anything, why would she want to run away from the Force when presented with it?
Because she remembers something. Because the memories of what she intuitively knows are too jarring, even painful, for her senses to accept. But she does with time. And she knows it in her bones. I believe she was in training to be a Jedi long before the timeline of this movie. Where Luke first showed willingness to learn and struggled with learning the Force, Rey clearly shows that she already knows.
4. "The Force Runs Strong In My Family": A Reversal Of Original Trilogy Roles
We already know that Leia was also endowed with the Force, though to a much lesser degree than Luke. As the leader of the Rebel Alliance, she had her hands full. But what if she, too, had developed her abilities to the point of mastery? "There is another," Yoda said. And there is a strong possibility that these new installments will play that out.
Let's assume that Padme and Anakin stayed together, for instance, escaping the threat of Palpatine together. If that were the case, it's possible they would raise their children with knowledge of the Force. What if Luke then turned to the Dark Side under Palpatine, and Leia somehow had to save him? Using the Rebel Alliance alone wouldn't work without Jedi coming into the equation. Obi-Wan Kenobi, being in exile, would then have to train Leia.
It would be an interesting family dynamic playing out, to say the least, if it does turn out that Kylo Ren and Rey are in fact brother and sister.
Aside from that, J.J. Abrams has stated that "Rey's loneliness is a key to her origin". She could very well be a Solo as well.
5. Rey Is Obi-Wan Kenobi's Granddaughter
I'll admit I had to sit down after hearing this one. My first reaction was "WHAT?!" But despite that, there are also compelling clues that Rey could in fact be related to Obi-Wan somehow, and these were things I overlooked.
- Her use of Jedi mind tricks.
- The way she sneaks around Starkiller Base is reminiscent of Obi-Wan in the Death Star during A New Hope.
- Kenobi was a total hermit on Tatooine, whereas Luke at least had Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Old Kenobi seemed to shun everyone, just as Rey does. And she begins as solitary in the film as well.
- Ewan McGregor makes a vocal appearance in Rey's vision with the words "Rey...these are your first steps." Contrast that with Old Ben's words "You've taken your first step into a larger world."
- It makes for a fascinating premise if a Skywalker were trained by a Kenobi, and then a Kenobi being trained by a Skywalker...if this series will deal at all with the concept of Jedi reincarnation (which would make sense, since Buddhism also does), perhaps old Obi-Wan shall win after all.
All of these are fascinating theories, and philosophies which give them greater weight. It has been explained to me before how George Lucas actually wrote star wars in a story format known as "ring theory", in which everything in the saga comes full-circle, and it's told that way for a reason. In truth, I care a bit less about Rey's parentage and history than I do about her as a strong, developing character in the Force. Let's face it, J.J. Abrams and the writers of this epic film left it ambiguous for a good reason, because they wanted us all to keep on guessing. So who knows? Given the evidence, it could go so many different ways that it's become almost pointless to settle on just one theory.
We'll just have to wait until 2017. In the meantime, we have the upcoming Rogue One to nerd out about!
So what do YOU think about Rey's origins? Square off in the comments below!