We only know a little bit about Rey and Jakku, but we know enough to think about why she was left there.
Jakku is obviously a barren, nearly lifeless place. We only get a few glimpses of it during The Force Awakens. But we learn more about Jakku and it’s importance from the novel Empire’s End (spoiler review).
In short, Jakku is the site of the Emperor’s master plan in the event of his untimely death. He chose Jakku for its proximity to the Unknown Regions and because it was a nearly-dead planet. It was this lifelessness that attracted the Emperor as the absence of life has implications into the presence of the Force.
This is an interesting notion that we’ve only really heard articulated once before. In Season 6 of The Clone Wars, Yoda goes on a journey guided by Qui Gon Jinn’s Force presence. He leads him to Degobah – a planet teaming with life. This abundance of life makes Degobah one of the most purest locations in the Galaxy for the Force. It is on this journey where many things are revealed to Yoda about the future of the galaxy and his place in it.
These two contrasting locations may give us some insight into Rey. If you watch TFA closely, Rey’s force abilities don’t really start to manifest until she is on Takodana where she sees more green than she ever knew existed in the galaxy. Her growth continues on Star Killer base (which is rumored to have been Ilum, but never confirmed).
Maybe I’m just making this up, but it feels like a meaningful perspective to take with trying to understand Rey. Whoever left her on Jakku may have done so because it’s a place where her Force abilities wouldn’t flourish. Whatever reason she has to stay (Mind trick, belief that her family really would return) was to prevent her from realizing her powers as she grew older.
“Who are Rey’s parents?” is an important question that fans have raised, I think its real importance is understanding “how did Rey end up where we found her?” That seems like an important point about her character that I hope we get to explore at some point.
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