The new Rogue One trailer has inspired a slew of new theories, with fans connecting Jyn Erso to everyone from Han Solo to Captain Phasma. And of course, The Force Awakens' enigmatic new hero has been thrown into the mix, with many fans already rallying around the idea that Rey is actually Jyn Erso's daughter.
There are clear similarities between the two characters in the trailer, which you should definitely watch again if you haven't done so already.
Rey being Jyn's daughter would explain a bunch of stuff, like Rey's English accent and why Han Solo seems to know who she is. But what about Luke Skywalker? Naturally, he could also be her father if Jyn Erso is her mother. From a narrative perspective however, this could seem like a tired plot twist, and critics of the Rey Skywalker theory have already pointed this out. So what if Rey were Jyn's daughter, and not Luke's?
The Rey Erso Theory
Before we delve into the comparison, let's look at why so many people are already rallying behind the Rey Erso theory. This is mostly thanks to the the physical similarities between Daisy Ridley and Felicity Jones.
I'm not fighting: the two definitely look related.
But there's another similarity which stands out more as a clue that the two characters are connected: Rey's accent: British RP is used in the Star Wars universe to denote characters of authority, who hail from the central planets. Basically, it's unlikely Rey picked up this accent on Jakku.
Now that we've got the similarities covered, let's have a look at the how and why of Rey's abandonment. The only mention we have of Rey's parents is in the official The Force Awakens novelisation, during Rey's vision.
"Stay here, I'll come back for you. I'll come back, sweetheart. I promise."
Forget abandoned: this heartfelt goodbye implies that Rey was left on Jakku because her parents had no other option.
What's interesting to note is that Kylo Ren's massacre of the Jedi students occurred when he was 15. Because of their confirmed ages, we know that this happened when Rey was 5 years old. Incidentally, this is also the age she was when she was left on Jakku. So considering Rey's Force Sensitivity, it's possible that Rey was hidden from Kylo Ren for her own protection.
Rey Erso v Rey Skywalker
We can't really have Jyn Erso be Rey's mother and Luke be her father, as that would just be too much going on narratively. So why Rey Skywalker over Rey Erso?
Well for starters we've already had one Skywalker revelation in the current saga: that of Kylo Ren being Ben Solo and the grandson of Darth Vader. Another "I am your father moment" would lack any kind of emotional punch or shock value. Also, from a character perspective it really doesn't make a lot of sense for Luke to leave Rey on Jakku, as he was left as a child in a similar manner.
Rey being related to Jyn Erso alone would be far more compelling, for both characters. Rey's origin story could be one of the most interesting plot points of Star Wars Episode 8. With Kylo Ren and Rey already positioned as nemeses, it would be elegant thematically to connect Rey's abandonment with Kylo Ren's betrayal of Luke Skywalker. And yet, they don't have to make Rey a Skywalker in order to do this, as Jyn could have hidden Rey because of Kylo Ren's betrayal.
Establishing Jyn as Rey's mother would be a very interesting journey for both the characters and the audience. The dramatic irony alone is fantastic: what’s better than falling for Jyn as a hero, but knowing that she will one day abandon her child? This would lead us to wonder why she could do that to Rey, what happened, and whether Jyn is still alive in The Force Awakens.
Going into Episode 8, this sets up some great character development for Rey. Star Wars 8 could explore Rey coming to terms with her mother's abandonment, and learning that she can both admire her mother as a rebel hero but know that this doesn’t justify leaving Rey on Jakku. This would carry a strong message of understanding that parents aren’t always infallible, which has been a theme throughout the Star Wars films.
In this context, Rogue One suddenly becomes something more than an anthology spin-off. It's not just the tale of the scrappy rebels who stole the plans to the first Death Star, and it's not just a gritty war story about conflict on the front lines. This is the story of Rey's mother, why she's a hero in her own right, and why her story gives depth to the saga as a whole.