Ewok Corner: The Mystery of Rey’s ParentsJanuary 7, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Episode VII, Movies, Opinion, Regular Feature, Star Wars | 1 Comment
For those who haven’t seen the movie yet, there are spoilers below.
Rey Skywalker or Rey Fill-in-the-Blank?
Most people’s initial reactions on seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that Rey is Luke’s daughter. She’s strong in the Force. She’s the main character. She has to be Luke’s daughter, right? But given the details in the film, that might not be the case.
So why isn’t Rey Luke’s kid? First off, when Luke is mentioned to her, she replies that isn’t he a myth? Thus if Luke is her father, she doesn’t know it. We know Rey is waiting for her family to return. That in itself is an interesting line in the movie as it implies Rey might have more than a mother and father that left her. The other detail we have to work with is her Force vision of being left on Jakku. She was very very young at the time, and she was left with the alien junk dealer, Unkar Plutt. This begs the question why Luke would leave his daughter to some thug on Jakku who rations out food for junk? We know Luke left because one of his students turned to the dark side and wiped out his fledgling Jedi academy. Surely if Luke had a kid, Han and Leia would know.
If Luke isn’t the father, who is? I think the brutal answer is nobody. Rey says she is nobody, most likely her parents are nobodys too. Worse than that, there’s a very good likelihood they sold Rey to that alien for transport offworld. The inhabitants of Niima Outpost were scraping by just to get food, let alone to get ahead. A starving couple with a mouth to feed may have made the painful, sickening choice to trade their child for freedom, ignorant that their child is strong in the Force. The benefit of going this route with the storyline is that we branch the Star Wars saga away from the Skywalkers. Yes, the first six films are all about the Skywalker legacy, but that doesn’t mean the main character always has to be a Skywalker. If Disney wants to make an on-going Star Wars movie franchise, they need to break off from the Skywalkers at some point. Making Rey a non-Skywalker does that. We still get our beloved Solo’s and Skywalkers in this sequel trilogy, and we still get the Skywalker saga as we deal with the legacy of Vader and his grandchild Ben. Yet using Rey, someone who isn’t a Solo or Skywalker, to take up the baton and face down the Skywalker legacy, to more importantly take up the torch of the Jedi legacy, now that would be something special.
But what if Rey is Luke’s kid? In that case, Luke probably didn’t keep Rey a secret, as that’s not really fitting with his character. But the mother could have kept it a secret from Luke. She may have even hooked up with someone else, who Rey took to be her parents. One way or another, the mother leaves Rey on Jakku and Luke wanders the galaxy not knowing he has a daughter. That means Episode VIII’s inevitable Jedi training will reveal a big secret. But it would also be hindered by the audience asking the question of who the mother is. So the even bigger question is whether there is room for the mother in the story. Maybe, maybe not.
One last clue. Rey lives in an AT-AT. She has a doll of a Rebel X-wing pilot. She has an X-wing helmet. Now I haven’t found a match for the markings for any known pilot, but it’s a good bet one of her parents is/was an X-wing pilot. It doesn’t rule out Luke as her mom could be the pilot. It also doesn’t rule out her parents abandoning her. Nevertheless, it’s a tantalizing clue in the mystery box that J.J. Abrams built. What will Rian Johnson, the writer and directory for Star Wars Episode VIII do with it?
In the end, I think we may never know. No one knows who Han, Yoda or Obi-Wan’s parents are, let alone what species Yoda is. It’s possible Rey will retain that same mystery. Personally, I think a little mystery is a good thing and I hope this one will remain intact.