Who is Rey? [Spoilers]

Rey is the clear break-out character from The Force Awakens.  She’s a strong woman hardened by the realities of surviving on Jakku with a power that she doesn’t yet understand.  But who is she, exactly?

(Fair warning – this has lots of Spoilers)

Rey is one of the most captivating additions to the Star Wars universe.  Unfortunately, we are left with far more questions about her than answers (which is what makes Star Wars great).

While we don’t know definitively who Rey is, we have some information to ponder.   Most suspect, perhaps reasonably, that Rey is Luke Skywalker’s daughter.  Well, she either is or she isn’t.  This will help think through some things below.


A Timeline

According to Pablo Hidalgo of Lucasfilm’s Story Group, Rey is about 19 in The Force Awakens and Kylo Ren is around 29-30.  It’s clear from the film that Rey is NOT Leia’s child.  More reasonably, Kylo would have been born shortly after the Battle of Endor and Rey would have been born about 10/11 years later.  There’s no way that they would have neglected to mention and discuss (and have a relationship with) another potentially force sensitive child.  So there’s that.

But it also seems that Rey’s abandonment on Jakku coincides with some critical events.  If Rey was abandoned around age 5/6, then Kylo Ren would have been about 15-17 at the same time.  Given that Han had been without the Falcon for 12-ish years – meaning he had left Leia shortly prior, say, 13/14 years prior, at the time when Kylo Ren was breaking bad.  That would have been when he was around 17ish years old and the time Rey is abandoned.

This doesn’t seem like a coincidence.   It’s possible that Rey could have been left on Jakku to protect her from the First Order.  It also means that Luke, Leia, nor anyone close to them should know where she is in hopes of protecting her location from The First Order / Snoke, Ren.


Lor San Tekka

Who was Lor San Tekka (older gentleman who gave the map to Luke to Poe)?  Starwars.com describes him as a legendary explorer and follower of Church of the Force who retires on Jakku.  Really?  Why would someone so legendary retire on some back-water planet?

LST, however, had a personal acquantance with Kylo Ren.  It’s clear he knows who Kylo Ren is and knew him when he was much younger (not a surprise given Ren’s lineage and LST’s relationship with the Rebellion).  LST also made reference to Leia being “royalty” to him.  That’s a strange comment as nearly no one refers to Leia as “princess” except those who knew her in her teens.

It’s also interesting to note that after LST is killed, Unkar Plutt started giving Rey low-ball pricing on her scavenging finds.

“These were half-portion each last week.”

Again, not clear there’s a connection there but that’s an interesting coincidence.


Rey seems to know things already

Perhaps the most surprising part of Rey’s character arc is that she seems to know how to perform some Jedi techniques.  She admirably executes the Jedi Mind trick – something that Luke (and Ezra Bridger) had to witness before performing.  We even see her jumping and swinging on a rope similar to how we see Luke on Degobah.

She also seems to understand BB-8 and Chewie.  That’s a strange skill for someone who lives so hand-to-mouth.  The only other human who we see can understand an astromech is Ezra Bridger in Rebels.  If there’s any tie-in with Rebels, for me, this is it.  This is the strongest indication to me that she’s Force sensitive.

So it would seem that Rey has been taught how to use the Force in some sense already.  Five seems like an interesting age for her as she is still old enough to have been taught some things.  This may also be the source of her interest in piloting.  We see that she has a doll of an X-wing pilot and a rebel alliance helmet. They could be from remnants from the various crashed ships.  They could also be hers from before she was taken to Jakku.  These are very specific objects for her to keep and indicate that she has some appreciation for the Rebels.  This is, I think, a clue to her background as well.


More on Lor San Tekka

How did LST receive a map to Luke just as there’s been an “awakening”?   There are some possibilities for this:

  1. Luke gave it to him when he went into hiding.  This is possible, but it’s unreasonable that he had it this whole time and The First Order hadn’t shaken him down for it.
  2. He found it in his travels.  Given the prominence of the First Order, it seems like it would be dangerous for him to be running around the galaxy looking for clues to Luke Skywalker.  But it is possible.
  3. Luke sent it to him recently in order to trigger some additional action.  It’s possible that LST received the map from Luke as a signal to come find him.

How did The First Order find out LST had the map in the first place?  When they landed, they weren’t looking for Poe – they went to LST directly.  Poe was caught in the cross-fire.  It’s more likely that the Force led TFO and Kylo Ren to Lor San Tekka.


Who is Rey’s Mother?

This is perhaps the most important question.  Jedi aren’t supposed to have romantic relationships.  But hey – it’s a new kind of Jedi Order.  Rey has an English accent while Luke has an American accident.  So that may give some insights into who her mother is (or a big plot hole).

Some possibilities:

  1. Luke had a relationship with a woman and didn’t know that he had a child.   This isn’t unreasonable, given that Anakin / Vader didn’t know his children lived.  But it seems a tad less likely.
  2. Luke had a relationship and knew he had a child and sent her to Jakku himself.
  3. Rey isn’t Luke’s Child, but rather another child who Luke found as an infant.  This isn’t unreasonable, but wouldn’t explain why Luke’s light saber would have “called” to her.  We hear Obiwan’s voice during her vision so it’s possible she’s related to Obiwan (not betting big on this).  Furthermore, we know that Lucasfilm has said that the main storyline will focus on the Skywalker family.

We don’t (and can’t) know who her mother is, but she is perhaps a more interesting element to this than the potential for Luke to be her father.


My speculation on Rey’s back-story

Rey is taken to Jakku and left with Unkar Plutt when she is 5 in order to keep her away from Kylo Ren / Ben Solo who wants to kill all remaining Jedi.  For her protection, she must not leave Jakku and know very little about the outside galaxy so as not to otherwise corrupt her.  She is told her parents will return for her and that she isn’t to leave the planet until they return for her.  Her background and family are a mystery to her – only a strong compulsion to obey is what guides her – a super-duper Jedi mind trick.

No force sensitives can be near her (for safety), but she must be protected by a close family friend who understands her importance to the force.  Lor San Tekka is an old ally/dignitary from Alderaan who knew Leia as a “princess” and follower of the Church of the Force.  He isn’t on Jakku for retirement, but rather to secretly keep watch over Rey and ensure Unkar Plutt (with whom Rey apparently was left) provides her with the support she needs.

Her parents are Luke Skywalker and a women he meets on his travels (perhaps related to Lor San Tekka).  They keep her on Jakku until such time that Luke accomplishes a milestone with his own force training (perhaps the journey we see with Yoda at the end of The Clone Wars).

That’s what I’m hoping.


Alternative Theories

The folks at FullofSith Podcast Kylo Ren, unable to kill a 5-year old Rey (his cousin), leaves her on Jakku.  The datapoint behind this theory is that the ship that takes off as Rey is abandoned is red – a sign of evil and The First Order.