ByEleanor Tremeer, writer at
MP staff. I talk about Star Wars a lot. Sometimes I'm paid for it.
Eleanor Tremeer

Ever since Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens was released, fans have been itching to know the nature of the connection between Luke Skywalker and Rey. Many people have theorised that the saga's new protagonist is in fact Luke's daughter. But as this early Star Wars concept reveals, the link between the two characters is far more obvious than that...

George Lucas' Original Concept Was Very Different

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope went through a lot of changes before it finally made its way to the big screen. The first script featured Luke Skywalker as a grizzled Rebel Alliance general, called Starkiller, and this later got made into a comic book.

General Luke Starkiller
General Luke Starkiller

George Lucas played with a few other concepts, and one of the earliest versions of A New Hope featured a female Luke Skywalker as the main character. Much of the plot was the same, with Skywalker living on Tattooine and dreaming of a greater life among the stars, until she meets a rugged space cowboy...

"Lucas was toying with many ideas as he revised his screenplay drafts. At one point he had Luke as a sixteen-year-old girl who fell in love with Han Solo. This version was probably a revision of the second script, since the top painting, with Luke on a bluff overlooking Mos Eisley, lacks Ben (who was introduced in the third draft)."

The original concept art also documented the development of Star Wars, and the female version of Luke Skywalker even got her own action figure!

Original Star Wars concept art.
Original Star Wars concept art.

With the huge success of Star Wars, having the main character be a woman would have been nothing short of revolutionary. But why is it relevant to The Force Awakens? Well, with this original concept in mind, Rey is more than just a potential relative of Luke Skywalker...

Rey basically IS Luke Skywalker!

Obviously, the parallels between Rey and Luke Skywalker are palpable. They're both lonely kids on desert worlds, who discover their Force powers and journey to train with Jedi masters. As the protagonists of their respective trilogies, their roles in the story also directly mirror each other.

Rey and Luke Skywalker
Rey and Luke Skywalker

And actually, it was the connection between Rey and Luke that persuaded JJ Abrams to direct The Force Awakens.

When Kathleen Kennedy approached him, JJ Abrams had just come off the Star Trek reboot and was reluctant to work on another sequel. It was her pitch about a young female Jedi and the myth of Luke Skywalker that changed his mind. “I thought, Oh my God, it’s an incredible thing. Luke Skywalker is potentially a myth. To someone who’s 19 years old, what does that mean?”

It seems that Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, was the one to come up with the idea of Rey, a young Jedi who chases after the legend of Luke Skywalker.

Rey and BB-8 in The Force Awakens
Rey and BB-8 in The Force Awakens

Kathleen Kennedy hasn't spoken about what her aims were in co-creating The Force Awakens' story, but it's clear that she wanted a woman to lead the story: she has spoken a lot about diversity and representation in the media.

"The demographics within our business don't reflect society, and they certainly don't reflect the audience. There should be many, many more faces of color, many more women, many more gay people — you could go down the list."

In many ways, Rey really is the Luke Skywalker of our generation. She's someone that people will look up to, she's the character we live through when we watch the movies.

Kennedy might not have been aware that Lucas' original concept for Luke Skywalker was a woman, but in many ways Rey is achieving what the female Luke never got to do: she's our new hope.

Tell us in the comments: What do you think of the female Luke Skywalker?

[Source:,, Writers Guild of America, USA Today]

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