Rey, played by Daisy Ridley in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (Image: Disney/Lucasfilm)
Now that pretty much everyone and their dog has seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, one question is being contemplated at dinner tables and on web forums across the galaxy: Who are Rey’s parents? According to the film, their identity is “top secret,” and she has been waiting patiently her entire life for their return. But the Force is strong with Rey – so strong that, according to Star Wars mythology, it must be inherited. Could Rey be the secret daughter of Luke Skywalker (the man she thought was a “myth”), or Princess Leia and Han Solo? Perhaps she’s connected to someone even further back on the Star Wars timeline. Or maybe her parents are of no consequence at all (but isn’t it more fun to speculate?). Here, five popular fan theories about Rey’s parentage, with evidence for and against.
Image credit: 20th Century Fox
1. Rey is Luke Skywalker’s daughter.
The evidence: Fans loves a big, mind-blowing character theory, but in practice, creators usually like to keep things simple. By the principle of Occam’s lightsaber, Luke is the obvious parent for Rey. Her Force abilities echo his, including her uncanny skill at piloting strange spaceships. She has a strong, mystical connection to Luke’s old lightsaber – notably, a stronger one than Kylo Ren does, suggesting a more direct connection to the weapon’s lineage. Plus there are all those deliberate story parallels between the characters, i.e., both Rey and Luke were abandoned on desert planets by parents they never knew, then were led by droids into the Rebellion and learned of their hidden Jedi powers. Two of Luke’s musical themes from A New Hope even play under key Rey scenes in The Force Awakens.
The case against: It could be a deliberate mislead on the part of J.J. Abrams. Then there’s this can of space slugs: If Rey turns out to be a Skywalker, who is her mother? Lucas’s prequel mythology suggests that Jedi cannot raise their own children, but it is unclear whether romantic entanglements are even permitted. (In a 2002 press conference for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Lucas appeared to leave the door open, saying, “Jedi Knights aren’t celibate – the thing that is forbidden is attachments – and possessive relationships.”)
2. Rey is Leia and/or Han Solo’s daughter.
The evidence: If she’s not Luke’s daughter, Rey might have inherited her Force powers from Luke’s twin sister, Leia. If so, this would continue the secret-sibling theme from the original trilogy and explain the apparent connection between Rey and Kylo Ren (whom we know to be Han and Leia’s son). It would also explain her strong, almost immediate bond with Han Solo. And it would make that hug with Leia at the end of The Force Awakens all the more touching. Also, if J.J. Abrams was borrowing ideas from the Star Wars novels (which are no longer canon), Han and Leia had a son who descended to the dark side… and a daughter who became a Jedi master.
The case against: During Leia and Han’s brief conversations in The Force Awakens, they never mention having more than one child together. And neither has any apparent recognition of the unusually powerful teenage girl who drops into their lives. That said, we know that Leia and Han spent a very long time apart after their son turned against them. Could Leia have conceived a daughter that Han didn’t know about, then hidden her away on Jakku? Rey could also be related to just one of them: the love child of the wandering scavenger Han Solo (again, he wouldn’t necessarily know about her), or the progeny of a subsequent Leia relationship.
Image credit: 20th Century Fox
3. Rey is Obi-Wan Kenobi’s granddaughter.
The evidence: This has been an ongoing rumor since before The Force Awakens was cast, when The Hollywood Reporter indicated that J.J. Abrams was seeking an actress to play Obi-Wan’s “daughter or granddaughter.” The theory has only gained traction since the film opened, with fans citing as evidence Rey’s English accent, her instinctive usage of Obi-Wan’s Jedi mind trick, and perhaps most convincingly, the fact that Ewan McGregor’s voice called out to Rey in her lightsaber-induced vision. The Obi-Wan relationship could also create a nice parallel to the original trilogy: Rey’s inevitable face-off with Kylo Ren would become the confrontation of Obi-Wan and Vader’s grandchildren.
The case against: Given the events of the original trilogy, the prequels and the canonical cartoon series The Clone Wars, it’s hard to figure out when, exactly, Obi-Wan would have started a family. Was it a teenage romance, prior to his joining the Jedi? Or did he break his vows after Anakin turned evil and settle down to a civilian life? And if so, why was he a Force-strong hermit on Tatooine when he met Luke?
Image credit: 20th Century Fox
4. Rey is descended from Emperor Palpatine.
The evidence: Could Rey be headed for her own “evil dad” revelation? A small but vocal minority are convinced that Rey is biologically connected to Palpatine, the corrupt politician who drove the galaxy to war and ascended to rule the Galactic Empire with the power of the Dark Side. Some fans believe that Palpatine’s voice can be heard in Rey’s lightsaber vision. Her fighting style has been compared to that of Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, and once again, the English accent comes into play. The fact that her name means “king” in Spanish has been cited as a possible connection to the lineage of the Emperor (though it could also point back to Princess Leia and Queen Amidala). And like the Obi-Wan theory, this one offers some interesting connections to the previous films: If Rey is descended from the man who turned Anakin to the Dark Side, only to die at his hands, then her relationship with Anakin’s grandson Kylo Ren becomes that much more tangled.
The case against: When did Emperor Palpatine have children, exactly? And if Rey is related to him, why hide her away? This theory has holes bigger than a Sarlacc Pit.
Image credit: AP Photo/Lucasfilm Ltd
5. Rey is Anakin’s magical Force twin.
The evidence: Fans who are down with midi-chlorians have raised the possibility that Rey is conceived purely from the Force, like Anakin Skywalker. One Reddit user sees evidence in The Clone Wars TV series that Anakin might have had a secret sister, also conceived in a miraculous virgin birth, and that she could be connected to Rey. Alternately: Rey could be related to Captain Phasma, or Qui-Gon Jinn, or Supreme Leader Snoke, or Felicity Jones’ character in the unreleased anthology film Rogue One. The possibilities are endless!
The case against: These theories are silly. We’re just waiting for someone to make a plausible argument that Rey is descended from Yoda.