Remember when Rey’s parents were nobodies? That was a simpler time. Now that we’ve seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, we know that’s not exactly the case, but Episode IX’s biggest bombshell raises an even bigger question about Rey’s lineage.
Warning! Huge spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ahead.
Let’s get this out of the way: Emperor Sheev Palpatine is Rey’s grandfather. We have no idea how or when that happened — Rise of Skywalker is annoyingly vague on these details — but it happened and there’s no going back. This, of course, raises an interesting question: Who is Rey’s grandmother?
Or, to put it another way: Who did Palpatine have sex with?
The current Star Wars canon is pretty short on answers, though the best and most obvious guess is Sly Moore (aka, the bald female alien who sometimes stood next to Palpatine in the prequels). Her proximity to the Emperor doesn’t really prove anything, but it’s worth noting that in the non-canonical Extended Universe, Sly’s alleged son Triclops claimed to be Palpy’s son, even if it was never confirmed.
Speaking of the Star Wars EU, before Disney bought Lucasfilm and cleaned up the timeline, Palpatine had multiple lady friends and maybe even an affair with one of his closest advisers. Two options from “Legends” in particular stand out as the most likely contender for the title of Rey’s grandmother: Roganda Ismaren and Ysanne Isard. So let’s take a closer look at both of them.
Why Roganda Ismaren might be Rey’s grandmother
In the core Star Wars movies, Sheev Palpatine is pretty much an asexual villain, seemingly too focused on gathering power and killing the Jedi to have a wife or even a girlfriend. But in the Extended Universe, his character is a bit more fleshed out. According to Wookiepedia (the ultimate source of Star Wars knowledge), he had an entire “harem,” including one notable character named Roganda Ismaren’s who’s described simply as “one of the Emperor’s concubines.”
Roganda was much more than that. She was a former Jedi youngling who was captured by the Empire as a child. She used her Force powers and her looks to infiltrate the Imperial Court, eventually becoming close with Palpatine himself. At the same time, Roganda had a child with another Imperial leader who she even tried to pass off as Palps’ legitimate heir.
That scheme didn’t work out, but assuming Roganda still exists in the current Star Wars canon, it’s totally possible that she also gave birth to Palpatine’s son, making her Rey’s grandmother. It’s not a bad theory, but there’s an even better one…
Why Ysanne Isard might be Rey’s grandmother
Arguably the most powerful woman in the entire Galactic Empire, Ysanne Isard was a ruthless leader who’s evil ambitions rivaled Emperor Palpatine’s. Early in her military career, she blamed her own father for a failed mission and was rewarded with control of a prison underneath the surface of Coruscant. There she tortured enemies for secrets and turned prisoners into sleeper agents.
Ysanne rose to the position of Director of Imperial Intelligence during the Galactic Civil War. She even ruled the Empire briefly after Palps’ death in Return of the Jedi.
Any sort of romantic relationship between Ysanne and Sheev seems to be more subtext than stated fact in the Star Wars Extended Universe. But among knowledgable fans online, it’s considered pretty much a given. “Isard was exceptionally close to Palpatine,” Wookiepedia reads.
There’s no mention of Isard ever having a child, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened. Of course, this all assumes the EU character is actually a part of Star Wars canon, but hey, it’s happened before.
If there’s anyone in the galaxy who Emperor Palpatine might consider “worthy” of carrying his child, Ysanne Isard seems like a pretty strong candidate.
The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.