At the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it was believed that Rey had lived up to the movie's title, but it seems that she may not be a Jedi yet, actually. Whether or not Rey is a Jedi is a question that's more than just academic. With Luke Skywalker dead, Leia Organa never developing her Force powers, and Ben Solo turning his back on the light side of the Force, that left only Rey to carry on the flame of the Jedi Order.
Indeed, heading into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it's expected that there will be one final confrontation between Rey and Kylo Ren, who's now the Supreme Leader of the First Order (along with the Knights of Ren), showing how good could triumph over evil once and for all and vindicating the sacrifices of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Mace Windu, Han Solo, and so many other characters. However, this latest turn potentially throws quite the monkey wrench into the proceedings.
The nugget that Rey may not, in fact, be a Jedi is dropped in Spark of the Resistance, a young-adult book that takes place a few months after The Last Jedi (placing it around the same time as Galaxy’s Edge). It follows Rey, Poe Dameron, Rose Tico, and BB-8 on a mission to help liberate an isolated planet from a growing First Order presence – a process which, naturally, involves the Jakku scavenger piloting the Millennium Falcon into battle against several TIE fighters. After having attempted to utilize the Force a few times previously to no effect, Rey makes one last effort, this time in the thick of combat:
“But this time she relaxed into the warm potential of the Force, and she asked it to guide her, to make her steady, to lead her on a path that was successful. She wasn't a Jedi, and she was nothing like Luke Skywalker, but for a moment Rey sensed something – a spark of possibility, an inkling of potential – and she felt more centered and infinitely more capable.”
There is, of course, plenty of room for interpretation here. Does Rey choose to not refer to herself as a Jedi because of self-perception, of a lack of confidence in her just-discovered abilities, or is it because of the objective fact that she has yet to undertake the Jedi Trials and prove her mettle? She must have learned about the Trials after taking the ancient Jedi texts from Luke's hut. Either way, there are two interesting consequences from this passage. First and foremost, it would mean that the Jedi have, for the first time in the nine-film saga, truly become extinct, just as the Republic that they devoted themselves to nurturing and protecting has been wiped out, too.
Secondly, the fact that Rey has been struggling with her limited Jedi training, that she’s spent most of her time as a pilot on the run from neo-Imperials, and that she clearly doesn’t think of herself as a member of that hallowed lineage places her in exactly the same position that Luke himself was in prior to The Empire Strikes Back. This means that she’s exactly on track to round out her trilogy just as young Skywalker did his, facing a dark confrontation and ultimately coming out of it the stronger – and a Jedi born in fire.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019