I’m going to be straight with you: I’m dead fucking tired of Kylo Ren. Tumblr is obsessed with the character. A character who doesn’t sell merchandise, a character who really only exists to help advance other characters arcs. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him totally irrelevant, but he’s nowhere near as important as the entirety of Tumblr would tell you.
So today, I’m going to talk about something that actually fucking matters to Star Wars: Rey’s parentage.
Join me under the cut!
Who, who are you? I really wanna know…
I hate that song. Well, not the song really. But the franchise it’s attached to. Anyway, Rey’s parentage question is of a fair bit of importance to the Star Wars franchise. It’s the only real mystery of The Last Jedi, with all the other major questions having been answered by the format (nobody’s arcs are getting resolved in the second act of a trilogy, don’t be stupid) or having been set-up in the last movie (Kylo continues to struggle with good and evil! Rey trains to be a Jedi! Leia mentors Poe! Finn struggles to find his place! Hux is a walking sack of shit!). Frankly, I think the Rey parentage question was answered in The Force Awakens, too. But some other people don’t, so I want to talk about it today.
Kathleen Kennedy constantly and consistently refers to the main trilogies as ‘The Skywalker Saga’.
Well, that’s a big fucking clue, now isn’t it? The main trilogies are all about the Skywalkers. From Anakin to Luke to…?
Some people claim that Kylo is The Skywalker of the Sequels. They’re half right; Kylo is definitely of Skywalker heritage, and had he made different choices, he may very well have been Anakin’s Heir. As it stands, however, there are a few problems with him being The Skywalker:
- Leia. Leia is Luke’s twin sister, and as such has as much right to the Skywalker Legacy as he does. However, she seems to have rejected this heritage, for she has not trained as a Jedi and instead continues in the legacy of her adoptive father and biological grandmother, being a politician and general. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but her quitting the claim on her Skywalker inheritance leaves Kylo in a much weaker position, with a lesser claim, when he tries to take up the mantle.
- Anakin’s lightsaber. Anakin’s lightsaber, reforged after Geonosis and passed down to Luke, firmly and utterly rejects Kylo Ren, instead going straight for Rey. This in spite of Kylo being Anakin’s grandson, Luke’s nephew and much better trained than Rey. Given the recent revelations about kyber crystals and how they need to be attuned to a person, there can only be one explanation: the lightsaber, Anakin’s lightsaber, chose Rey.
So, Kylo is not The Skywalker of the Sequels. He is not Anakin’s Heir. He is The Fallen Skywalker, Darth Vader’s Heir. He chose evil to make up for his own inadequacies and failures, and as such rejected his original, heroic destiny. And it won’t be until IX that he can find his way back, if he ever does.
So, this Saga being The Skywalker Saga, we seem to be short a Skywalker. Let’s see if we can find them.
Carrie Fisher: It’s about family. That’s what makes it so powerful.
Here’s another big fucking clue! It’s about family, and everybody has got their own relationship to family:
- Han, Luke and Leia. The original trio and found family of the first sequel. Due to trauma, now broken beyond repair.
- Finn. Taken from his family before he could ever remember. He needs to find a new one. And he starts with Poe Dameron, and continues with BB-8, Rey and Han Solo (a lot of focus is on Rey and Han’s relationship, but we forget that Han and Finn also bonded quickly, and Finn was just as devastated as Rey). And he’s going to keep adding with the addition of Rose Tico.
- Poe. He straight up lost his, and replaced them with Leia. And later Finn.
- Rey, she needs to find hers.
- Kylo sundered his.
Family in Star Wars is kind of complicated, no?
So, we know it’s about family. We know it’s about The Skywalkers. We know that Kylo rejected his proper destiny for the easier, darker path. So who is our Skywalker?
Rian Johnson: Luke and Rey’s relationship are the beating heart of the film
Ah. I believe we’ve found our candidate.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Rey is a Skywalker by blood. But it does, compounded with the evidence above, point to her being The Skywalker of the Sequels, even if it’s by adoption.
I don’t think it is, though. I think she’s a Skywalker by blood. Let’s talk about why.
Rian Johnson: Rey’s parentage is interesting but not impactful
This is simultaneously the most useful and least useful clue of the lot. It’s useful because it tells us that Rian doesn’t consider Rey’s parentage to be something worth spending a lot of time on. It’s not central to the plot, it’s not a big mystery, it’s just something to underline the emotional journey that Rey and Luke are on.
It’s also totally irrelevant because Rey’s the Hero of the Sequels and she’s gonna become a Jedi. There’s nothing in her parentage that’s going to change that, nothing Rian’s gonna do that can change that, because that’s how her arc was set-up in The Force Awakens and Star Wars isn’t that terrible A Song of Ice and Fire series which likes to butcher its characters’ arcs so that George R.R. Martin can jack off to death.
Kylo Ren: It is you! In the novelization.
Kylo Ren recognizes Rey. According to Word of God, he’s never met Rey before and recognizes her as the Awakening he and Snoke felt.
Okay, so who’s powerful enough but a Skywalker to scare the pants off of both the second most evil motherfucker in the galaxy after Palpatine and a Fallen Skywalker? Nobody, that’s who.
And who else but his cousin would trigger feelings of recognition in Kylo Ren, especially when he hasn’t met her before?
The script of The Force Awakens says that Luke knew her as soon as he saw her
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Luke who dropped Rey on Jakku. In fact, I think he thinks she’s dead, and that’s a big part of what his negative attitude towards her is at the beginning of The Last Jedi. Here’s this kid who’s the right age as his daughter would have been, who looks just like she should look, and is handing him his old lightsaber asking to be trained in the Force. Yeah, how could you interpret that as anything other than the cruellest fucking joke possible from the Universe?
But he recognizes her. So he knew her, once. And it’s hard to justify that as being anything but his kid.
Leia goes through all of The Force Awakens without mentioning a daughter
Given the sheer amount of shit her son gets up too, and her close relationship with Poe, you’d think she’d mention having another fucking kid, wouldn’t you? Especially if they were missing in action.
Mark’s constant trolling of the subject
Either he’s dropping hints or he’s turned into the Joker.
Finally, Hayden Christiansen: Star Wars is about fathers and sons.
And boy is it ever. We’ve got the creepy abuser relationship in Anakin/Palpatine and Kylo/Snoke, we’ve got the antagonist relationship in Vader/Luke, and we’ve got the traitorous son relationship in Kylo/Han. But we also have positive father and father figure relationships in Obi-Wan/Anakin and Obi-Wan/Luke and Han/Rey and Han/Finn. And Yoda, of course, who’s everybody’s crotchety-yet-cool grandpa.
Continuing with that theme, we’re going to stay with the abusive relationship in Snoke/Kylo, but Rian’s comments strongly suggest that there’s going to be a positive parental relationship between Luke and Rey.
It continues with the theme, but also contrasts it nicely in being about a father and a daughter.