Is Rey really Emperor Palpatine’s granddaughter? And assuming Dark side clones are out of the picture, and Rey is Palpatine’s biological granddaughter, then who, in this ridonkulous hypothetical scenario, was Rey’s biological grandmother? A new fan theory suggests an old George Lucas plotline might have the answer, and that connection could be revealed in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But this is probably one theory we should hope doesn’t come true. Here’s what’s going on.
Speculative Star Wars spoilers ahead!
On Wednesday, a new thread in the StarWarsSpeculation subreddit reintroduced the idea that an abandoned backstory for Sheev Palpatine would have given the nefarious Emperor a mobster love interest. Basically, in 2016, news broke that George Lucas had toyed with the idea that Palpatine got his feelings hurt by a woman who had ties to the criminal underworld on Coruscant. This storyline would have played out on a TV series called Star Wars: Underworld, a show George Lucas actively tried to get made, before abandoning the project because of a lack of funding. Back in 2017, Ronald D. Moore (who was a writer on the ill-fated series) told Inverse that the show was going to be a super hardcore sci-fi crime drama set in the Star Wars universe. “It would have been like The Sopranos,” Moore said.
So what the hell does any of this have to do with Rey in The Rise of Skywalker? Honestly, probably nothing. Everyone involved with Star Wars: Underworld has repeatedly said the project was totally shelved in 2012, and because it was part of George Lucas’ old canon, there’s no reason to believe Lucasfilm is reviving random story points from something that was never finished.
That said, if there was some connection, the theory would go like this: Palpatine’s mobster girlfriend had a child, and in secret, that person became one of Rey’s parents. Retroactively, this would mean that Rey has hardcore Dark side energy because of her family link to Palpatine, but it would also mean she had some space crime DNA, too. If we keep going from there, it could play into the idea that crime boss Qi’ra from Solo is Rey’s mom (and Palpatine’s daughter), and that Han Solo is Rey’s illegitimate dad. If that were true, Han would suddenly be Palpatine’s son-in-law — which would make Kylo Ren his second cousin? Maybe?
If all of this sounds a little too nuts, we can take the Han/Qi’ra thing out of the mix and simply say that Rey’s grandmother (Palp’s lover) was another, previously unknown character, and that person’s child (one of Rey’s parents) was, as Kylo Ren said, a nobody. Still, this theory forces us to picture Palpatine having sex, which honestly seems like the main reason why it should be disqualified.
In other words, rebooting this lost storyline would seemingly require Palpatine to obtain a Joker-esque backstory, which feels very off-brand not only with what we know about the Sith Lord already, but also with the general direction and vibe of the franchise. Connecting Rey’s background to a legacy character’s lineage is controversial enough. Adding a “heartbroken” Emperor Palpatine into the mix would be a hyperspace bridge too far.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.