With The Last Jedi set to hit cinemas in just a few days, fans of Star Wars are excited to see what Rian Johnson and co have in store for us with the new movie. One of the chief plot threads set to be explored is the parentage of humble scavenger Rey- who are her elusive parents, and why did they leave her on Jakku? I will now take a look at a few of the many possibilities, and will rank them according to their likelihood (in this fan’s humble opinion, at least).
1: Luke Skywalker and X
At face value, this seems like the obvious answer. Luke, like Rey, is strong in the force, and both followed similar paths in A New Hope and The Force Awakens respectively. Furthermore, the Star Wars saga has always followed a Skywalker, and so it would make sense for the main character to be a Skywalker, right? Add in the fact that the Skywalker lightsaber called to Rey, and it seems like a slam dunk. Well, unfortunately it doesn’t seem that simple. For starters, it can be argued that Kylo Ren, the grandson of Anakin Skywalker, fulfils the role of lead Skywalker in this trilogy. Secondly, JJ Abrams has stated that Rey’s parents did not appear in Episode XII, and while he could be lying, I feel inclined to believe him at this time. Finally, it seems out of character for Luke to have both fathered and abandoned a child, even after the destruction of his new Jedi order (I’ll mention more on that later). It is clear that Luke recognises Rey on Ach’to, but for now at least, exactly why remains a mystery.
Likelihood: 7 midichlorians out of 10
2: Han Solo and Leia Organa
Another popular theory suggests that Rey is in fact a Solo, and the sister of Ben. There are strong narrative advantages to this theory- direct relatives fighting one another on opposite sides of the war is a tried and tested storytelling mechanic, with great effect. Futhermore, this would go some lengths to explain the apparent connection that exists between Rey and Kylo- both seem able to tease information out of the other, Kylo sees the ocean and the island (Ach’to?) in Rey’s mind, while Rey sees Kylo’s fear of not matching up to Vader. Another, often overlooked, bonus to this theory is that it does not require the introduction of any new characters, which allows it to be much cleaner in terms of plot threads and continuity. However, the big cross next to this theory comes from the canon novel Bloodline, set six years before Episode XII. A not-yet-fallen Ben Solo is mentioned several times, and yet there is no mention of another sibling at all, let alone one matching the description of Rey. Of course, it could simply be a lie of omission, but in that case, why not release it after the reveal, preserving the continuity? The way the scene between Han and Maz at her castle is framed makes it likely that Han knew who Rey was, but with the presence of Bloodline it seems unlikely that it is a familial connection.
Likelihood: 4 midichlorians out of 10 (8 out of 10 without Bloodline)
3: Grandaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi
My personal favourite theory, (if for no other reason than because Obi-Wan is one of my favourite characters) and one that took a big boost with the announcement of the Kenobi anthology film, this is one that requires a bit more explaining. The theory suggests that Obi-Wan had a child while in exile, who in turn had Rey. Supporting evidence comes from hearing the voices of both Alec Guiness and Ewan McGregor (who recorded new lines) in the lightsaber-induced vision, the only characters to do so. As it was Old Ben who owned the lightsaber for the longest, and then passed it on to Luke, his appearance in the vision appears to make sense. Furthermore, it allows a well recognised and beloved character to remain relevant to the new trilogy, and explains Rey’s accent in the Force Awakens (meanwhile fellow Brit John Boyega had to change his for the role). This theory also satisfies Abrams’ “not in Episode XII” comment, while also providing hints for the audience. However, even a staunch Rey Kenobi believer like myself has to admit there are flaws to the theory. Several new characters would have to be introduced, which would potentially make the subsequent films messy, and question marks would arise as to why Kenobi never mentioned a child. This theory does fit, at least from a certain point of view.
Likelihood: 6 midichlorians of 10
4: Students of Luke’s Academy
The most plausible of all fan theories, simply due to its flexibility, is that one or both of Rey’s parents were students in Luke’s new Jedi Order before its destruction. This would explain most of the main cast’s familiarity with Rey (at least after some coaxing), while satisfying the Abrams rule and avoiding many of the pitfalls of the theories above. This would explain some of the visions in the lightsaber vision, such as the Knights of Ren and Luke with R2-D2. Her parents would have likely been killed by Kylo and his gang, fulfilling Maz’s “prophecy” about them never coming back. The only flaw with the theory comes from Rey’s abandonment on Jakku (Why does everybody want to go back to Jakku?!). Once again, Bloodline puts a spanner in the works, however, as Ben’s fall to the dark side and the subsequent destruction of the new Jedi Order would have happened a minimum of six years before the Force Awakens, a long time after Rey arrived on Jakku (in the vision she appears to be a maximum of seven years old). It is possible that Rey’s birth was against the Jedi code, and that is why she was hidden away- but in that case, why not send her to somewhere a little more hospitable (Luke at least stayed with his family on Tatooine)? Overall, though, this is the most likely scenario regarding Rey’s lineage.
Likelihood: 8 midichlorians out of 10
A lot of other theories have been floated around, such as Sabine/Ezra, Qui Gon/Shmi and Cienna/Thane (and recently Iden Versio, but as I havent played the new Battlefront yet I am unqualified to comment), but they largely all suffer from the same problem- a lack of familiarity to a casual audience. When my Nan eventually sits down to watch The Last Jedi, she is not going to have any idea who these people are, and perhaps quite rightly. As much as Star Wars is about its expanded universe, the main series films still have to be accessible to a more general audience. Even spin offs, such as Rogue One and the new Kenobi anthology are on thin ice in this regard. Someone shouldn’t be forced to do research to understand a major plot point- that’s simply poor storytelling, and LucasFlim and Disney undoubtedly know this. So, unless the character appears in a live-action movie, they’re not Rey’s parent.
I hope you enjoyed my list- if you have any other theories or would like to fact check me, please leave a comment below!