Ah, fan theories. We all have them. Most of us are well intentioned, chatting about that galaxy far, far away with likeminded friends, in real life, in text messages, on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else susceptible to our Force musings. Some of us even make elaborate YouTube videos espousing our various thoughts and theories. Ever since Disney announced the purchase of Lucasfilm and plans to reignite Star Wars with a whole host of new canon movies, TV shows, books, comics, video games, and all the rest, the possibilities have seemed endless. ENDLESS!
The Force Awakens arrived with much goodwill from fans and critics alike. It’s both a continuation of the Star Wars saga and homage to the original trilogy. It reunited us with old favorites and introduced brand new characters. Even if some of the “new” locations and situations felt a little less than fresh, it was exhilaratingly fun.
There were a ton of books, comics, episodes of Star Wars Rebels, and even a standalone Star Wars movie during the wait between saga installments, but none of them answered one of the biggest questions Force Awakens asked: who are Rey’s parents? Luke’s old lightsaber called to her. It gave her visions. It chose her over Kylo Ren, whose grandfather and uncle used to wield it! The Last Jedi came along and said that, in fact, her parents were a couple of terrible people with no connection to the greater Star Wars story. The fans who loved this explanation celebrated the idea that Rey is an every person. Any of us could be Rey. She will blaze her own trail and have her own legacy. No aristocracy, no bloodline. Other reactions ranged from confusion to disappointment to outright anger. Why would Force Awakens build up this mystery about Rey and then Last Jedi just shrug it off?
“They were filthy junk traders,” the former Ben Solo said. “Sold you off for drinking money. They’re dead in a pauper’s grave in the Jakku desert.” Was Kylo Ren simply lying? Rian Johnson has gone on record that Ren was definitely telling the truth, at least as far as he understood it. “For me, in that moment, Kylo believes it’s the truth,” the director said, via Entertainment Weekly. “I don’t think he’s purely playing chess. I think that’s what he saw when they touched fingers and that’s what he believes. And when he tells her that in the moment, she believes it.”
So that means that while this moment may be retconned in Episode IX or elsewhere, Johnson’s explanation about Rey’s parentage was not a misdirect. Today, it stands. So here are the some of the more popular theories we’ve waved goodbye to…
Rey is Kylo Ren’s sister.
The Expanded Universe featured Solo twins, one of whom fell to the Dark Side. As evidenced by the appearance of characters like Admiral Thrawn, the material now known as Star Wars Legends is there to be mined and reshaped in the new canon. This would explain so much about their connection, about her bond with Han Solo as a father figure, about her literal and figurative embrace of Leia. These all felt like clues for the audience, red herrings or not. It would also fall in line with JJ Abrams reverence and replication of the original trilogy. In fact, if this reveal comes in Episode IX, it will matchup perfectly with the reveal in Return of the Jedi that Luke and Leia are twins, separated as children, hidden away from the forces of darkness. Rey and Kylo do have some romantic chemistry, but hey, so did Luke and Leia. Ew.
Rey is Luke’s daughter.
This would mean Luke broke with the monastic tradition of the Jedi Order. But that’s certainly not without precedent. His own father did the same thing. This could explain why he wants the Jedi Order to end. Didn’t this monastic abstention from romance help bring about the downfall of the Jedi? Couldn’t true balance in the Force come from a happy medium between Sith indulgence and Jedi abstinence?
Rey is a Kenobi.
Count Dooku eventually left the Jedi Order and later was seduced by the Dark Side, taking the Sith name Darth Tyranus. His old Padawan, Qui-Gon Jinn, frequently came into conflict with the Jedi Council. Qui-Gon’s Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, was a bit on the rebellious side (or, “a bit of a lad,” as Ewan McGregor once astutely observed). So it’s possible that Kenobi broke with tradition at some point. We know that during a time of Civil War on Mandalore, young Obi-Wan developed feelings for the Duchess Satine, later admitting that had she asked him to stay, he’d have left the Jedi Order. So maybe he fathered a child at some point. Maybe Rey is a blood relative of his.
Rey is Obi-Wan reincarnated.
It was Obi-Wan Kenobi’s old master, Qui-Gon Jinn, who first learned how to maintain consciousness after death via the Living Force. Qui-Gon taught this to Yoda. Obi-Wan learned it as well. Perhaps Obi-Wan took things further and figured out how to reincarnate himself. This theory doesn’t really account for Rey hearing Obi-Wan’s voice calling to her. Or perhaps it does? “From a certain point of view”?