Ever since The Force Awakens and even the months prior, there has been speculation on who Rey is and what her family lineage is. Everyone that has seen a Disney era Star Wars movie has an opinion on the matter. Some of these theories are outrageous, while others have some weight to them. These are some of the more popular Rey theories and why they would and why they wouldn’t work.
Rey is a Clone
Why this works: Clones and cloning has always been a part of the lore of Star Wars. It is a concept that made its way into Canon with the Clone Army of the Republic that was used in the Clone Wars, so this is not such an outlandish idea and is possible. There are a lot of different angles that you could attack this idea from.
Rey could be a clone of Luke. To do this, somebody might have somehow got Luke’s hand that was severed at the end of Empire Strikes Back and cloned him for the purpose of having a backup plan in case he died, or to use him/her as an evil pawn. This would have been orchestrated most likely by Snoke or Palpatine. For the case of Snoke, he has a respect for Luke and for the case on behalf of Palpatine he was trying to replace Vader and maybe this clone would have been put into play if he got desperate and wanted to replace Vader like he was trying to do at the end of Return of the Jedi with Luke. Maybe if he wasn’t able to successfully turn Luke, the clone of Luke, now Rey would have been the backup plan.
She could also be a clone of Anakin. This could be a similar limb situation, but for Anakin. It is known that Palpatine was the one that helped create Anakin, and maybe when he turned to Vader, he had some DNA from him that he was planning to use to clone Anakin/Vader. There could be a potential that he cloned Anakin, and that clone turned out to be Rey.
Why it doesn’t work: The argument against the Rey is a clone theory is very similar to the argument for it. Rey turning out to be a clone would be the rehash of an idea that has already been used in the Star Wars universe. Most fans want to have fresh and new ideas and writing her as a clone would not be new and refreshing. Rey being a clone would also limit any character development that Rey will have in The Rise of Skywalker and has had so far in her story. By making her a clone you take away an emotional attachment to this character by making her a duplicate of another.
Rey is a Palpatine
Why it works: Palpatine has been the big bad for the entirety of the Skywalker Saga. So why not make him have some sort of lineage that would influence the end of the overall story of Star Wars? Palpatine has always functioned in a way where he does not have any attachments on an emotional level to anyone. His attachment has always been to power and the want, or rather the need for more power, but he has never had an attachment to an individual. If it is revealed that Rey is his granddaughter, it would give him some attachment to another character. Perhaps this leads him to put a focus on her, but also using that relationship as a tool to manipulate her. Palpatine is a master manipulator, he always has been. He used his relationship with Anakin to manipulate Anakin to the dark side, he would do the same thing with some sort of a bond with Rey.
On the other side of the hypothetical coin, you have Rey’s side of this. For the last two movies, she has been longing for a sense of belonging and a search of where she comes from. If it is revealed to her that she is related to Palpatine she might find some comfort in that. This might mean that she is more easily manipulated compared to if she remained a nobody or had a sense of belonging to another family. This could mean that maybe she is easier drawn to the dark side and more likely to join Palpatine and do whatever he wants her to do.
Why it doesn’t work: I have written about this before, and you can view the full explanation here. In short –yes, it would be cool for Rey to be related to the big band of the Skywalker Saga, but it is one hell of a stretch. There is no evidence that Palpatine has any kids nonetheless grandkids. Similar to why it would work, Palpatine has never had an attachment to anyone, so why would that matter in the final chapter of his story? Again, it is a fun theory and in writing a cool idea, but for it to work it should have been played out earlier on than the last movie.
Rey is Kylo Ren’s Sister
Why it works: This would be a direct storyline from Legends material. In Legends Han and Leia had twins– Jacen and Jaina. It is clear that Disney used both of those characters for inspiration for Rey and Kylo Ren. Why not come full circle and have their characters’ stories play out as they did in the stories of Legends? In that story like Rey, Jaina remained a Jedi while her twin brother Jacen fell to the dark side. Their stories culminated with an end battle that killed Jacen and wounded Jaina which could be the exact outcome of The Rise of Skywalker.
It seems like the characters of Rey and Kylo Ren have been heavily influenced by the storyline of Jania and Jacen. These characters were set up by JJ Abrams, so maybe the entire time he has wanted to push them in this direction. George Lucas has always said that these stories are intended to rhyme, maybe they will continue to do that even without his involvement and create another brother/sister bond similar to Luke and Leia in the Original Trilogy.
Why it Doesn’t Work: The latest trailer had some serious Reylo vibes. The story of the Sequel Trilogy has been set around Rey and Kylo Ren coming together in a romantic way. If they are not siblings, it works that they would fall for one another and team up in that regard. Similarly, to the rhyming notion mentioned before, this would have a similar storyline to the relationship between Han and Leia or Anakin and Padme in the stories before these.
Rey is the Chosen One
Why it Works: Each story has seemed to have a protagonist that has had their destiny be centered on the protagonist trying to bring balance to the force. In The Prequels, it was Anakin who had this destiny, and many will still argue he is the one true Chosen One. In the original story, it could be argued that Luke Skywalker had this role, even though the counterargument to that is Darth Vader/Anakin was the one to defeat Palpatine. So, it would make sense that our main protagonist, Rey, would have a similar role in this conclusion.
The prophecy of The Chosen One is vague. All we know about this specific prophecy is, “A Chosen One shall come, born of no father, and through him will ultimate balance in the force be restored”. The only aspect to that wordage is that Rey is not a he, but all the other parts she, in a way that fits. It is also clear that Anakin (the original Chosen One) never balanced the force as there is still conflict in the universe of Star Wars. One may even ponder what balance looks like and maybe it has already been accomplished, but for more than speculation you can read about it here. The point that I am trying to get at is that there could be more than one “Chosen One”. Maybe, and just maybe, each generation has had one. In the middle of The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda does say that there is another after Luke departs for Cloud City. Many have speculated that his means Leia, but maybe he meant Rey all this time.
Why it Doesn’t Work: George Lucas has stated in the past that Anakin is the only Chosen One. Okay, so this theory has the creator of this universe saying who the Chosen One is against it. Honestly, this is the only mark against this idea of Rey as the one who will bring balance to the force. It’s sort of a big mark, but I would not put it past them to make that main protagonist of this trilogy the one to finally bring balance to the force. Although Lucas’ viewpoint is the only main argument against this theory for Rey, there are many that would be mad at the idea of every generation having a Chosen One.
Rey is Nobody
Why it Works: It has been the overarching theme of this entire slate of movies. Rey has been told that she is nobody special for the last two movies, why change that now? One reason that I love the Sequel Trilogy and the common theme it has produced; is it shows that greatness can come from anybody. You do not need to come from a rich bloodline (Skywalker, Solo, Palpatine, Kenobi, etc…) in order to make a difference and there is something magical about that.
This theme was in full force during The Last Jedi and would make sense to continue pushing forward during The Rise of Skywalker. This trilogy and Star Wars has always been about being an everyday person and having the ability to make a difference in the name of the greater good. By making Rey a nobody and just an average individual who is strong with the force, it cements on the best themes in this saga; anyone can make a difference.
Why it Doesn’t Work: People might find it boring? There seems to be a large desire for Rey to belong to one of the famous Star Wars families. I get that. As fans of fantasy, we love to relate that character to something or somebody that has a deep-rooted history in the lore. It’s why we like to know more about individuals with famous names in Harry Potter and Game of Thrones (it’s a major reason we are getting a show just about the Targaryen’s, plus dragons are neat). Fans want to relate Rey back to somebody special in the Star Wars universe. This will help peak interest in who she is, but more importantly who her family is. There is intrigue in knowing that somebody comes from a historically well-known family in Star Wars and even with Kylo Ren being a Solo/Skywalker, as fans we will always have a thirst for more stories centered around bloodlines.
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