The biggest lingering question in all of Star Wars has been asked over and over again for the last four years. Now, with The Rise of Skywalker, it seems like everyone will finally get some hastily constructed retroactive answers. J.J. Abrams, the guy who co-created your favorite TV show — Felicity — and Chris Terrio, the guy who wrote your favorite superhero movie — Justice League, are finally going to tell us the answer to the question “Who Is Rey?” What could go wrong?
This week, Empire magazine began teasing out interviews from its huge Rise of Skywalker issue, including a new interview with co-screenwriter Chris Terrio, in which he said:
“We kept coming back to ‘Who is Rey?’— and how can we give the most satisfying answer to that not only factually – because obviously people are interested in whether there’s more to be learned of Rey’s story – but more importantly who is she as a character? How will she find the courage and will and inner strength and power to carry on what she’s inherited?”
Obviously this is all very cryptic, and for fans who really want Star Wars to let the past die when it comes to crazy theories about Rey’s background, this isn’t exactly good news. But, because we’re all still excited about The Rise of Skywalker, here are three ways this could go that would actually be 100 percent fine.
3. Rey is born out of the Force, kind of like Anakin, but better
Though there are a lot of Rey parentage theories out there, but the idea that she was a Force-baby, and perhaps not even carried by a mother could be the coolest and cleanest way of dealing with this. If Rey was a Force-baby, then the drunken parents Kylo Ren talked about in The Last Jedi could have been her evil adoptive parents, which would sort of explain why they so callously sold her off; they were never really invested in her in the first place. Plus, if she was a Force-baby, her importance to the story, relative to bringing balance to the Force would be easily explained.
2. Rey really is a nobody, the Force simply chose her
One line I always think about relative to Rey’s journey is when Maz talks to her about the Skywalker lightsaber in The Force Awakens. “Now it calls to you!” Maz says, implying the Force and that lightsaber have some kind of agency. Since the prequels, the idea of the Chosen One has been a pretty big deal, and George Lucas has always insisted the Chosen One was Anakin, at least relative to those old prequel prophecies. But, just because the Force seemed to be in balance for a little while post-Anakin, it clearly didn’t stay that way. Luke admits as much in The Last Jedi, implying that Kylo Ren was the thing that tipped the balance out of wack again. So, that means, the Force needed to chose someone else, hence a new Chosen One. If that person is Rey, that’s fine! And, really, it’s a decent response to the question of “Who Is Rey?” Answer: She’s the new Chosen One because the Skywalker family couldn’t keep their shit together.
1. Rey is related to Luke and Leia, but in a way that isn’t annoying
One of the weirdest things about The Rise of Skywalker is that it’s set to conclude the Skywalker family saga, but the main character — Rey — is supposedly not related to said family. What’s more, the only person with Skywalker lineage is the Dark side-leaning Kylo Ren. So how can a movie with Skywalker in the title that wraps up the Skywalker saga not have a Skywalker hero? Well, the popular theory that Rey will choose to adopt the name is a nice one and fits pretty well, but what if Abrams and Terrio did decide to go more literal? What if Rey is related to them, but we end up not hating it?
This is an important eventuality to consider: The movie may reveal that Rey is somehow part of the family, and if that happens, Star Wars fans are going to have to try to figure out if they will accept that. Here’s a thought experiment: Literally no one thought Leia was Luke’s sister going into Return of the Jedi. Now, we kind of all just accept it, even though, if you go back and watch Episode IV and V, it makes almost zero sense. Retroactively, that plot twist became canon, but even Mark Hamill thinks it was a last-minute decision.
So, what’s the point? Well, if Rey was somehow Han’s secret daughter, or Leia’s secret daughter or a clone made from Luke’s hand, it might sound really stupid on paper, but could work okay in the movie if it happens kind of quickly. Again, think about the Leia reveal in Return of the Jedi, it’s like two or three bits of dialogue that don’t have a huge bearing on the plot, other than causing Luke to lose his shit when Vader suggests he could turn Leia to the Dark side. If Rey’s family connection was handled in the same way Leia’s was in Return of the Jedi, it might be weird, but, if we’re all being honest, it could work.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Rey Joins the Family, Deal With It is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.