'Star Wars The Force Awakens' is trying too hard to make us think Rey's dad is [REDACTED]
Love it or loathe it, “Star Wars: The Force Awakenes” used the plot device of raising more questions than it answered. We still don’t know who Snoke is, we still don’t know how Kylo Ren got entangled with the First Order, and we still don’t know who Rey’s parents are*.
Except we probably do. And no, it’s not who the movie keeps implying.
WARNING: “STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS” SPOILERS AND SPECULATION BELOW.
*For the purposes of this article, I’m only using the information from “The Force Awakens” final cut. Nothing from the books, games, or rumored deleted scenes.
Almost from the first frame, J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan do their level best to gently lead the audience to the conclusion that Rey must be the daughter of Luke Skywalker. The reveal that Han Solo is Kylo Ren’s father and General Leia Organa is his mother — without any of the major players mentioning siblings (much less a twin) — seems straight forward. At some point, Han and Leia had a child and then everything went sideways. Ren went to the Dark Side and the First Order rose the from the ashes of Luke Skywalker’s failure.
But to paraphrase Yoda, what there was another? In the real world, there is almost a ten year age gap between Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley. Extrapolating that onto their characters, Rey could’ve been as young as four-ish when Ren went evil, as his demeanor definitely smacks of teen rebellion fueled by an agitator. That would fit the timeline in Rey’s Force memory*, with her young self being taken well in hand by none other than Unkar Plutt as her family flies away. But what happened? Again, Rey’s brush with Anakin’s lightsaber holds the key. Rey was there when Kylo Ren slaughtered a generation of padawans. The visions are not just visions, but the disjoined memories of a small child who saw a traumatic event.
*Side note: I’m 99.999% positive Maz Kanata’s cantina is on top of a Jedi temple.
Up until this point, Rey could still be Luke’s daughter. Upon subsequent re-watches, tiny details begin to stand out that point to the contrary. If there’s one thing the movies have taught audiences in recent years, it’s the obvious answer is seldom the right one these days. Red herrings…red herrings everywhere.
The most glaring is Chewbacca’s behavior at the end of “The Force Awakens.” His best friend — and the man he owed a life debt to — is dead. Yes, time passed between the end of the Starkiller Base battle and Rey leaving to find Luke, but still. What would cause the Wookiee to go with this scavenger? One answer would be the life debt transferred from father to daughter. There is also Han’s reaction to hearing Rey’s name for the first time, as if that was a name he hadn’t heard in a long time. Finally, there is Kylo Ren’s suspiciously violent reaction when a minion tells him girl helped Finn and BB-8 escape from Jakku.
But how Rey ended up on Jakku and who knew about it is open to interpretation. Almost like a Choose Your Own Adventure!
#1: Leia and/or her agents (such as Lor San Tekka) whisked Rey away into hiding from her brother and Snoke. Whatever happened to cause the rift in the Skywalker family and thrust Kylo Ren into the arms of the Dark Side would’ve left ripples. With one child lost to Snoke, Leia may have taken a page from her son’s namesake and hidden her daughter in the Outer Rim to keep her safe. In this scenario, Chewbacca was in on the plan, but not Han. This would explain Han’s exasperation that the Millennium Falcon had been on Jakku and his admonishment that Chewie should’ve agreed to explore the Western Reaches more thoroughly. Perhaps Chewie even assisted in having the Falcon “stolen” and left in the care of Rey’s guardian. But why not tell Rey the truth? Shame and fear. Would you want to tell your daughter you left her alone for decades and never told her father she lived?
#2: Luke and/or his agents (such as Lor San Tekka) whisked Rey away into hiding from her brother and Snoke in the immediate aftermath of Kylo Ren’s betrayal. If Rey’s visions were indeed memories, she may have been the only padawan Luke was able to save from the slaughter. In this version, Rey was left on a desert planet in the Outer Rim because that was how Luke was raised and he knew it’d be safe. Han and Leia believe their daughter to be dead at the hands of their son. This would explain Han’s wistful expression upon hearing her name and his desire to give Rey a job. It would also explain the lack of emotional reaction from Leia and Han upon seeing her again. It would also leave the job of getting the Falcon into Unbar Plutt’s hands to Luke (and perhaps Lando).
#3: Kylo Ren whisked Rey away into hiding from Snoke in the immediate aftermath of his slaughter of Luke’s other pupils. The very last vision Rey has before it melts into her abandonment on Jakku is of Kylo Ren stalking towards her in the rain. But what if instead of menace, it was with a moment of brotherly affection? Even in the present, Leia is convinced there is good in her son. In this scenario, Ren truly does know that Snoke will destroy him once he has outlived his usefulness. Hoping to spare his sister the same fate, he fakes her death and takes her to a remote planet where Snoke will never know she still lives. That would explain Kylo Ren’s extreme agitation upon finding out a girl helped Finn and BB-8 escape the planet and maybe even give an explanation for his weird “Don’t be afraid, I feel it too,” line as he tries to extract the map from Rey’s mind. This may also be the only scenario in which Kylo Ren could actually get a redemption arc in the wake of killing Han Solo.
Of course, all of this hinges on Rey being the daughter of both Leia AND Han. If she is merely Leia’s daughter, that throws a wrench into the whole thing and could explain how everything began to unravel. What if Leia had married for political gain — and had to send away her lover and son as part of the arrangement? After all, Leia does lament she never should’ve sent Ben away because that was when she lost both him and Han.
Or maybe Rey is the daughter of Luke Skywalker and the movie version of Mara Jade after all. We’ll find out in two years!
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