Let’s Think Some More about Rey

Rey has emerged as the break-out character for this era of Star Wars Saga films. Her story isn’t done (by a long shot) and we’re at an interesting place in her story. 

The Last Jedi and The Force Awaken both tell us something new and unique about Rey.  As we look forward to Episode IX, and presumably some kind of resolution for her character, we should take some stock in what we know about her.

She’s far more self-reliant and less reckless than other Jedi

When we first meet Rey, she’s jumping around fearlessly inside of a crashed Star Destroyer. She’s wearing hand-made gear from scavenged imperial trash. This is not someone who whines about picking up power converters.

She’s also not reckless. In fact, she’s constantly trying to find the way back to Jakku.  She’s literally driven off of Jakku after being shot at by Storm Troopers and Tie Fighters. She’s captured by Han and Chewie before she can take the Falcon back to Jakku herself.  As much as we may have been disappointed by Finn trying to leave to the Outer Rim, Rey also ran out after her visit to Maz’ basement.  So she’s certainly not craving adventure as much as intrigued by it.

 

Rey isn’t afraid of the Dark Side

What’s also interesting is that Rey hasn’t shown any fear of the Dark Side. When she’s called by Luke’s lightsaber, she’s frightened of the images she’s seen.  But she never hesitates to confront Kylo Ren on Takodana or on Starkiller base.

On Achto, she doesn’t fear the exploration of the cold, dark place under the island. She chooses to seek it out and see what it had to offer.  Her lack of fear doesn’t, however, give her insight. The Dark side gave her the answer she needed – that perhaps knowing her parents’ identities are not more important than her self image.  This was her biggest weakness and she didn’t realize that it needn’t make her weak at all.

She’s also not afraid of reaching out to Kylo Ren. While I really hate this dynamic within the story,

 

Are these her parents?

I only know of a few filthy junk traders in the Star Wars galaxy:

That Kylo Ren calls them filthy junk traders doesn’t mean we should write them off.  We don’t know that we can take his certain point of view on this.

The fan community seems to have made a big deal out of this. None of our Jedi heroes have illustrious parents except for Ben Solo. Anakin was born a slave to a single mom on a PoS planet. Ezra Bridger was born to nice loving civically-minded parents. Kanan Jarrus / Caleb Dume never knew his parents. Neither did Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke Skywalker thought his father was a navigator on a spice freighter (and after seeing Solo that is actually far less glamorous than I first thought). That he turned out to be the son of Anakin Skywalker – a Jedi traitor consumed by the Darkside – isn’t really something to be proud of either.  It would be like being a black person who’s a decedent of Robert E Lee.

Rey’s parent’s don’t seem like they should be important to us, rather than being important to Rey.  Perhaps the best part of TLJ as far as Rey is concerned was that she made a mistake with Kylo Ren.  It’s the same mistake we’ve seen Ezra Bridger make – that her interpretation of her vision was right on it’s face.  She misjudged Kylo Ren and Snoke and she may have caused far more chaos.

 

She conspicuously has all of her limbs

Rey’s uniform feels a little too clean.  She is shown to be powerful, but, relative to Luke, Ezra, Kanan, Ahsoka, and other Jedi characters, she’s been relatively unscathed.  I mean even after being tortured by Snoke, her hair and makeup are still great. In a fight against a few Praetorian guards, we only see her get one little poke on the arm. We’ve seen our other heroes go through some real challenges that leave them physically compromised.  We haven’t really seen her have to push through some kind of physical adversity.

Rey is screaming… but shows no other signs of duress.
Luke just got effed up by Vader…
Ahsoka fighting to escape.
Ezra gets a scar from The Inquisitor

 

What is Rey’s motivation from here?

The Last Jedi really played out her storyline from The Force Awakens. Frankly, it’s not really clear why she even went to Achto anyways.  She managed to get away from Starkiller Base with Chewie and Finn.  She may have accepted by then that her parents weren’t coming back for her.  She may have felt responsible for bringing Luke back to the Rebellion.  But when she figured out Luke wasn’t leaving, why didn’t she just stay? Why did she care about fighting with the Resistance? Did she have some heart-to-heart with Leia off-camera?

Does Rey want to be a Jedi? Does she want to take part in the Rebellion? She seemed to like the few lessons she got from Luke, but I really liked my golf lessons when I was 13 and then never played again.  She has the Jedi books, but that doesn’t really matter (the Bible is the most popular book sold in the world but people still do things that it strictly denounces).  So where is she? Why does she need to be in the Rebellion? Why doesn’t her, Finn, and Chewie go back to Kashyyyk or something?

I think this was the weakest part of Rey’s journey for me thus far.  What does she want and why?  I’m not sure I understand this in the same way I understood this for Luke or Ezra.

 

 

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