The marketing for Star Wars: The Force Awakens kept this movie’s biggest reveal a secret right up until release, when fans learned that Rey, the scavenger from the planet Jakku was the next trilogy’s hero, to be trained by Luke Skywalker himself. With Rey’s parents noticeably absent in the story, and after more than a few hints were dropped that the girl was following in Luke’s footsteps, a ton of fans walked out of the theater assuming the same thing: that Rey was really the daughter of Luke Skywalker – a secret that would probably be revealed over the course of the new trilogy.
We’ve run down the evidence and theories in a previous docu video, but as more and more fans have taken father-daughter relationship to be an obvious one, we think it’s only fair to remind everyone that it’s still just a theory for now. In fact, when you weigh all the evidence, there’s just as much reason to believe she CAN’T be a Skywalker in disguise. We’ll let you decide for ourselves when our latest docu video is over: Is Luke Skywalker REALLY Rey’s Father?
The Evidence: Mystery Parents
The most obvious clues may not be the most convincing, but they’re impossible to ignore. When The Force Awakens begins, Rey is living alone on a desert planet – not too different from Luke Skywalker’s childhood – or his father, Anakin’s. Rey is obviously a fan of the Rebel Alliance, too, decorating her scavenged home with a Rebel pilot doll, and even wearing a Rebel helmet for the fun of it. But once she reveals her last memory of the parents who left her behind, the big hints start dropping, as a flashback shows Rey watching as her parents fly off, leaving her behind on a backwater planet, but promising to come back for her one day.
The plot point makes it obvious that Rey’s parents are important, since audiences wouldn’t have even wondered if the film hadn’t made it a mystery to begin with. When her interrogation at the hands of Kylo Ren reveal that she imagines an island in the middle of a sea when in need of comfort, the movie ending on that exact same island – with Luke Skywalker on it – was all the evidence needed that father and daughter were destined to be reunited. And Luke’s best pupil would be his own daughter.
More Than Just Force Powers
Skill in The Force being passed from parent to child may be all the evidence some fans needed, but it wasn’t just Rey’s Force powers that seemed to imply she had Skywalker blood in her veins. Take your pick: there’s her knack for flying spacecraft, rebuilding and maintaining the most stubborn spaceships and tech, and even an immediate affinity for a droid on a mission all fit the bill of both Luke and Anakin. Her power was enough to get the attention of Kylo Ren, seeming to be an even more powerful Force user. And if you believe that BB-8’s arrival on Jakku, or Rey being pulled into the war between the Resistance and the First Order was total coincidence, then it was just as random when Anakin, then Luke, were plucked from the same situation for similarly great things. Luck, or the will of The Force – you decide.
The Force Vision
The most convincing bit of evidence comes when Rey first crosses paths with Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber – the one originally built and used by his father, Anakin, before it was cut from, and with, Luke’s hand (Empire). For starters, the lightsaber actually calling to Rey implies she’s no random Force user – and her childhood screams at being abandoned on Jakku being used to call her to the weapon add even more importance to the mystery of their identity. When she actually takes hold of the saber, she’s given visions of Luke and Anakin’s fight, Kylo Ren’s betrayal of Luke Skywalker, Luke leaving directions to his hiding place in R2D2 – basically, a crash course in the Skywalker family, and a sign of what comes next.
But it’s the voices spliced into the vision which also seem convincing: Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, the powerful Jedi who trained Anakin and Luke are both heard calling to Rey, telling her that, just as was the case with both Skywalkers, she is taking her “first steps” into the larger world of The Force, and the Light and Dark Sides of it. Why would simply touching a lightsaber trigger such memories? If they were those of the new user’s father and grandfather, it would make plenty of sense to even casual fans.
And if Luke really did leave Rey behind before heading into exile, her not just finding him, but bringing the Skywalker lightsaber he had presumed lost forever would probably convince him that there was no use fighting the will of The Force: helping a new Skywalker finish the battle he couldn’t.
Again, it’s all just fan theories and speculation for now. Fans have assumed that Rey is Luke’s daughter for a reason, and it’s mainly due to hints and clues that the filmmakers have counted on the audience catching. It could be true, but when you start thinking about the actual twist and logic, there seem to be some real problems with the assumption. Beginning with the biggest reason some doubt the upcoming reveal of Rey Skywalker at all…
It’s Just Too Obvious
It seems pretty pointless to go the trouble of keeping a heroine’s identity a mystery, and draw extra attention to the audience not knowing who her parents are… and leaving only one real conclusion for every single viewer to draw. Not just the diehard, conspiracy-obsessed Star Wars fanatics, but even casual moviegoers who leave the theater assuming they are to believe Luke is Rey’s father. J.J. Abrams has a better track record of twists when it comes to his other projects (LOST, Star Trek Into Darkness), and frankly, the reveal would be obvious to the point of being boring. Luke Skywalker living out his father’s origin story seemed poetic, but doing it a third time is wearing out the poetry – especially if the goal is moving the series in a fresh, inspired direction.
The problem then, is the conundrum at the heart of the Rey’s parents mystery. If it is a mystery at all, then it can’t be Luke. Because if it’s Luke, the mystery was obvious from the word go. Somehow, we think people will actually be surprised when the identities are revealed in the future. But that’s just our gut talking – there are other reasons that are a bit harder to argue.
She Wasn’t Hidden Safely
In Luke Skywalker’s case, Obi-Wan Kenobi took Anakin’s son to a backwater world, leaving him in the loving hands of Anakin’s stepbrother and his wife. Fans can argue that Kenobi’s move was an idiotic one, leaving Darth Vader’s son with his own family, and even keeping his last name. But had things gone to plan, Luke would have lived quietly and safely on a moisture farm.
In The Force Awakens, Rey isn’t left with family, or even an acquaintance likely to keep her safe: she’s left with Unkar Platt, a cruel, unfair, deceitful scrap trader. But fine, it’s still in the middle of nowhere, safe from prying eyes, right? Wrong. When BB-8 pops onto the First Order’s radar, Platt tries to buy the droid from Rey. But when she refuses, Platt reveals he’s secretly communicating with First Order agents, and sells Rey out in a heartbeat.
It’s easy to think of reasons why Luke Skywalker would leave his daughter behind: out of fear he would corrupt her, too, or that she would be a target for Kylo Ren, as eventually does happen in the movie. But Luke leaving her behind with nothing, in the hands of a corrupt, villainous alien who wouldn’t hesitate to sell her out to Kylo Ren’s allies? It doesn’t make much sense. Even the idea that Rey is a daughter of Leia Skywalker doesn’t hold water, since Leia says herself that if she had kept her son close, she could have kept him from falling to the Dark Side. So why would she make the same mistake twice, or let Luke make it himself?
There’s A Better Story To Tell
At this point, the best surprise would have to be the biggest. And with all the rumors spinning and theories being built, the biggest surprise would probably be if Rey’s true parents were… just some random people. Maybe a jedi, or another character or family from the previous films, but definitely not a Skywalker. We would be just as happy as the fans to see that twist played out with love and purpose, but c’mon: the third time telling the same story would be… well, less groundbreaking than fans were told to expect.
And would the prophecy of the Chosen One bringing balance to the The Force, an act completed when Anakin and Luke both defeated the Dark Side, be better, or worse, if it was just continued for another chapter? Anakin fell to the Dark, so Luke could save him from it… and Rey could do the same over again? The more interesting answer is that fans haven’t seen the ending to this story before: maybe the beginning, and maybe even the middle, but shrouded in mystery, they won’t see the conclusion coming until it’s here.
Could Rey be a descendant of Obi-Wan Kenobi instead, with Luke forced to train his friend’s descendant, moving Luke completely into the role of his former Master? Maybe Rey was the daughter of another missing Jedi, or even a Rebel hero too dangerous to even name? It’s the same idea as mentioned earlier: if Rey’s identity or lineage is meant to be a mystery, then we tend to think just a single movie in, it still is. If we’re wrong, and Rey really is Luke’s daughter, then it’s not the twist, surprise, mystery, or story that fans – or the filmmakers – must have hoped for. And we can’t help but think feel that Abrams would have done a better job of hiding it so close to the start.