Who is Rey?December 26, 2015
Star Wars: The Force Awakens gave us plenty to think about…not the least of which are the origins of Rey, the movie’s central character.
Have you seen the new Star Wars yet? The remainder of this article contains massive, frequent, and blatant spoilers for The Force Awakens.
Only read on if you have either seen the movie or if you don’t care that a significant portion of the mystery is going to be completely and utterly ruined for you.
The article continues below
Rey, the scavenger, was not born on Jakku; we come to learn that she was brought there when she was a little girl, a clue we were given from the lightsabre induced vision she had while underneath the tavern of Maz Tanaka.
Clues about her origins were sprinkled throughout the movie, but it’s from that vision where we gain much of our information about Rey’s past.
Rey is lead to the basement (and ultimately the box containing Luke’s lightsabre) when she hears the screams of a little girl; the same screams she would hear throughout her vision.
Here is what Rey saw:
What is presumably Luke’s Jedi temple laying in ruins
A hooded Luke, with his hand on R2D2, whispering a secret message
Kylo Ren slaying someone with his lightsabre, then standing over a field of slain Jedi
A young girl screaming (the same screams as Rey heard to lead her to the box) and being dragged away by a man, as a shuttle flies off
First, let’s break down the vision, in the order of its scenes.
– We knew that Luke’s facility was destroyed by Kylo Ren, but we didn’t know quite how exhaustive the destruction was until we see it replayed in Rey’s mind.
– Luke gives R2D2 a secret message, which we know basically was: “Here is a map. When the time is right, you must reveal it.” (Some authors have called the R2D2 map revelation Deus Ex Machina. I disagree because of Rey’s vision; Luke was clearly whispering instructions to R2, which foreshadowed the reveal that he contained the missing part of the map. I thought it was a little obvious, based on that foreshadowing actually, not Deus Ex Machina.)
What were the conditions of the reveal? Was it specific to Rey? Possibly, since when the first portion of the map was revealed by BB8, she wasn’t there for R2 to ‘sense’ and he didn’t power up until later.
– Kylo Ren’s annihilation of Luke’s facility is not specifically related to Rey’s identity, but since it seems clear that the visions were memories, it’s likely that Rey was there while it occurred, which is all the more likely given the next scene is that of a little girl screaming as a ship blasts off in the distance.
– Rey was there during the destruction but someone, presumably Luke, rescued her, and hid her on Jakku to protect her.
The most important connection in the vision, however, isn’t Rey as a little girl: it’s the man into whose trust she is given.
When he says “Come along, girl” his voice sounded an awful lot like Max Von Sydow, the actor who plays Lor San Tekka.
Name doesn’t ring a bell? He’s the guy who conveniently possessed one half of the map to Luke Skywalker and gave it to Poe Dameron at the beginning of the film.
Tekka is a mysterious character but we do know a few things about him: he knew Leia, before she was General Organa because to him, “she was a princess.”
Kylo Ren and Tekka also recognize each other and had a past relationship from their brief discussion in the village.
It’s likely Luke entrusted Tekka with stewardship of Rey (though interestingly we never see them interact as adults, only while she is a child, wonder what’s up with that?) AND the other half of the map to give to Rey, presumably when she was ready.
When Tekka is explaining to Poe why he was giving him the map, he says “I’ve traveled too far and seen too much.” It’s as though he knows there’s a right time to reveal his portion of the map, but he can no longer wait.
The future; uncertain, it is.
There were a few other interesting things sprinkled throughout the movie related to Rey that didn’t appear in her vision.
When Rey returned with her portions to her home in the desert and put on the rebel flight helmet, it certainly evoked the imagery of Luke when he first started training with a lightsabre on the Milennium Falcon.
She has a raggedy toy of a pilot in a rebel flight suit, not necessarily something you’d find easily on Jakku.
When Rey emerges from the chamber, Maz says something interesting: “The belonging you seek is ahead.”
Rey responds “Luke?”
It’s interesting because later, when Kylo Ren is probing her mind, he describes the oceans and the islands that she sees; is that a foreshadowing of her meeting with Skywalker? After all, it perfectly describes his location as seen from the Falcon when they were flying in.
She is obviously very strong in the force, first she’s able to resist part of Kylo Ren’s mind probe and then she’s able to use the force to deny Ren the lightsabre by grabbing it herself.
Who is Rey?
The semi-obvious answer is that she is Luke’s daughter. All of the similar imagery, the parallel paths: his in A New Hope, hers in The Force Awakens, make it possible, but as a Jedi, Luke isn’t supposed to love, so how could he have a child?
Could she be a daughter to Han and Leia that they thought was lost during the attack on Luke’s temple? If so, then why doesn’t Kylo Ren recognize her? Wouldn’t he remember having a sister? Unless they were twins, separated at birth, and Disney seriously just remakes the original trilogy all over again.
I think the latter option makes less sense but is more likely; only because a brother/sister connection between Kylo Ren and Rey “sounds” better than a cousin one, though I like the first idea better.
It’s all likely to be revealed in Episode VIII but until then, speculate away!