As The Force Awakens has introduced dozens of new characters to the Star Wars universe, fans can’t help but wonder how many of them are exactly what they seem. And if their true identities are much more interesting, how many of them will be revealed in the coming films?
Fan theories have ranged from convincing to ridiculous, with the true identities of Rey, The Force Awakens’ Jedi hero, and Supreme Leader Snoke two of the most debated. To fill you in on the best – or worst – theories, we’re going to run through some of the most popular suspicions from the fans, including those right here at Screen Rant.
Needless to say, we’ll be SPOILING Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so you have been warned.
The identity of Rey’s parents is almost definitely a key detail in the new trilogy – not only because she’s the latest in a line of powerful Force users, but because she’s been abandoned by her unnamed, unseen parent(s?) on a backwater planet, not given a last name that we know of. Assuming her parents weren’t pure evil in wishing their daughter would just disappear, fans have argued that Rey (which may or may not be her real name) was stashed for her own safety. And that means her parents could have been prime targets – for the forces of good, or evil.
The Youngest Skywalker?
With the Star Wars saga following the Skywalker family up to this point, introducing Luke Skywalker’s daughter as the new star of the story would keep the cycle alive. There’s a lot of evidence, too: Rey hears Luke and Anakin’s lightsaber calling out to her – not just in any voice, but her own cries when her unseen parent left her behind on Jakku. When she touches the saber, she envisions sights and sounds key to the Skywalker family, particularly the struggle between good and evil in their bloodline.
Not to mention the revelation - courtesy of Kylo Ren, when he's first invading her mind - that in her darkest hours, when she is unable to find the peace to sleep, she pictures an island in the middle of an ocean... quite possibly the same ocean and island where she eventually finds an older Luke Skywalker. Could the daughter’s Force powers have been calling to her father the entire time, or vice versa?
It’s possible that Rey is just a student of Luke Skywalker’s, and nothing more. But with Luke’s life following Return of the Jedi now almost entirely a mystery, and the Force especially powerful in his bloodline, a stronger bond looks likely.
Sister of Ren
As Yoda told fans in the original trilogy, “There is another” Skywalker aside from the bearded Jedi Luke: his sister Leia. Since General Leia Organa is shown to have had a son with Han Solo in The Force Awakens , who says the two couldn’t have had a daughter as well? In the e\formerly-canon Extended Universe novels, Leia and Han had multiple children, one of whom fell to the Dark Side, just as their cinematic son Ben did, taking the name Kylo Ren.
The theory would explain why Kylo can sense that the mystery girl helping the Resistance is important, truly losing his temper once hearing that she has assisted Finn and BB-8 off of Jakku, and even claiming that “he feels it too” when mentally linking with Rey. It would also add a much deeper meaning to Rey and Leia’s first meeting, not to mention Rey and Han’s relationship, especially if the old smuggler was aware of her true parentage, and agreed to keep their bond a secret, knowing Kylo would come looking for his younger sister once he got a lead. It would explain Han's growing fascination with Rey's knack for the Falcon, along with the sudden cut when Maz asks Han in private, "who's the girl?"
Star Wars fans have seen a brother and sister join forces already, but could the new trilogy see them go head-to-head, determining once and for all whether the Light Side or Dark Side of the Skywalker line will come out on top?
Another Kenobi in Hiding?
His padawan Anakin may have been the first Jedi to fall in love despite the Order’s rules against attachment, but the Clone Wars series showed that Obi-Wan Kenobi had just as much affection to give – especially once the Order was destroyed, and he went into hiding on Tatooine. This theory claims that Obi-Wan had a child who knew to keep the family name a secret from the Empire, with Vader, Palpatine, and their Inquisitors constantly on the hunt for any Force-sensitive children (or the heirs of some of their greatest opponents). Either trusting their father's paranoia, or because things got a bit more dangerous, that child of Kenobi eventually placed their own child in hiding on Jakku.
There’s not much evidence to support this theory, but the mirrored stories are too good to ignore. If it’s true, Rey would be returning Anakin’s lightsaber to Luke at the close of Episode VII, just as her grandfather had delivered it to him decades before. Where Anakin’s grandson Kylo Ren fights for the Dark Side and the First Order, Obi-Wan’s granddaughter rises to defeat him with the power of the Light. And if true, there's no telling how much Luke knew of Obi-Wan's child.
Aside from making Anakin and Obi-Wan the true heart of the entire series - not the Skywalkers alone - it would open the door to Kenobi’s own line, not Skywalker’s, producing the Chosen One prophesied to bring balance to The Force. It’s a bit less likely, but seeing Luke adopt Obi-Wan's original role and train the grandchild of his own mentor? That might even be a better way of bringing the story full circle.
Anakin Skywalker Reincarnated
Okay, this one is a bit crazier – but still could be true. Or, at least, within the rules and mythology of the Star Wars series. According to Anakin’s mother Shmi in The Phantom Menace, Anaking Skywalker didn’t have a father: he was a child born out of the Force itself. This immediately explained Qui-Gon Jinn's interest in the boy, as well as his powers, and his presumed mission to destroy the Sith… but the First Order and Empire lived on (and depending how much of the Extended Universe you now believe, it was the forces of evil that conspired to make The Force a proud parent).
But what if The Force made another child? Or, more specifically, gave Anakin Skywalker - the embodiment of The Force - a second chance? As Rey, the child would have the same force powers and knack for spaceship mechanics that she demonstrates throughout The Force Awakens, and touching Anakin’s lightsaber would bring emotions and memories from her past life flooding back (not to mention justify the movie's title).
The studio has promised a satisfying answer that will call back to the very start of the saga, and a second Chosen One with Anakin’s gifts would do the trick.
Now, About Supreme Leader Snoke
Those are just a few of the theories concerning the identity of the newest Star Wars Force User, but the big bad villain is just as important. Assuming that 'Supreme Leader Snoke' is an adopted title (like Darth Vader, Darth Sidious, or Darth Tyrannus before him), fans can’t help but imagine which existing characters Snoke might actually be – even if the cast and crew officially maintain that he’s a new character.
Of course, it's downright impossible to think that the studio would offer even a hint that the burned, damaged leader of the First Order is actually a returning character - or one referred to earlier in the series - when they didn't have to. And those theories are just as much fun to imagine, and debate.
The old Star Wars novels were thrown out of canon completely, but were replaced just as quickly. “Star Wars Aftermath” by Chuck Wendig introduced a few characters years before their appearance in The Force Awakens, being set between it and Return of the Jedi. But one mystery leader introduced in the book's pages has gotten fans talking more than any other.
Known only as ‘The Operator’ (get a more detailed breakdown of his character here) and believed to be a former Imperial Admiral presumed dead, the figure is more ruthless than any Imperial before him. He’s even willing to leak information to the Resistance, letting other officers be ambushed and killed to make the Empire stronger or more devoted.
Fans have seen how the new First Order is likely a result of that sacrifice and refinement, and have wondered if ‘The Operator’ eventually takes the name Snoke to lead the new empire himself. If so, then either he is a completely new character and the mystery in the novel is just for added flavor, or the author, like the films, is keeping a further reveal to themselves.
When Emperor Palpatine was trying to seduce Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side in Revenge of the Sith, he told him a story of the Sith Lord who uncovered the true power of the Dark Side: the ability to prevent death. The Sith Lord was known as Darth Plagueis, but even the knowledge of how to prevent death or create life couldn’t keep Plagueis alive when his apprentice rose up to kill him. The assumption made by everyone is that Palpatine a.k.a. Darth Sidious was that apprentice, who killed his master (as expected) and took a servant Sith of his own.
But what if Plagueis was only disfigured by the attack, and not killed? Could he live on in secret, waiting to undo his apprentice’s plan, and take a new student in Kylo Ren? It would explain Snoke’s alien size and appearance, and his injuries. Maybe having died and resurrected himself was Plagueis’ last challenge?
The Grand Inquisitor
As fans of Star Wars Rebels already know, Darth Vader and the Emperor didn’t hunt down Force Users themselves: they hired Inquisitors to do the job. Leading the group was The Grand Inquisitor, directly serving Vader as his best Force-using Jedi-hunter. He actually looks like Snoke (as much as one can, anyway) but was implied to have died in the show.
Than again, as Star Wars fans know, death is never permanent.
Grand Moff Tarkin
It’s a long shot, but we have to include our own theory about Snoke’s identity. In short: he’s the broken, rebuilt, and more determined than ever Grand Moff Tarkin, Vader’s former superior officer and the villain of the first Star Wars. Tarkin has the smarts to be both The Operator and Snoke, assuming he wasn’t killed in the Death Star explosion.
It’s an outlandish theory, but if the new Star Wars team is going to bring back an existing character, why not start with the best?
That’s our breakdown of the most convincing, or most entertaining theories on Snoke and Rey’s identities in the new Force Awakens trilogy. But what do you think? Have we missed any possible answers? Let us know in the comments, and remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one.
Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, and will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.