Star Wars: The Force Awakens has broken records, received stellar reviews and revitalized a much-loved franchise.
More importantly it gifted us Kylo Ren, formerly Ben Solo, son of Leia and Han, Master of the Knights of Ren and Creep of the First Order. He has become an internet sensation thanks to his tantrums, his sullen ambivalence and his rejection of his former identity.
Before the movie’s release we learned that Kylo idolized Darth Vader. It’s why he stomps around in a black mask that he doesn’t need.
Fans speculated that new heroine Rey was a Solo-Skywalker. I wondered of Kylo would pursue her as a dark side bride and have little Vader great-grand babies. Instead we learn that Kylo himself is of Vader’s bloodline.
But he is very interested in Rey., even sweeping her into his arms and carrying her to his ship. When Rey taunts him and refers to him as a “creature” he pops his mask off and tosses his hair. “Don’t be afraid, I feel it too,” he smirks.
Rey has to pick her jaw up off the ground and re-assume her own mask – a mask of defiance.
Who is she? Technically, she’s just a scavenger abandoned by her parents. She’s no one, but her relationship with Kylo may be central to his redemption.
Her lineage has become one of the big mysteries of The Force Awakens, and there are plenty of theories.
Rey and Ren are siblings
Well poor Han had no clue.
Some people think he unburdened his fatherly guilt to Maz Kanata off-camera at her castle. But the reason we cut away in that scene is because the audience didn’t need to hear Han explain Rey’s backstory.
It’s possible Leia secretly had baby Rey before stashing her for safe-keeping. But as the novel Before the Awakening makes clear, Rey suffers an agonizing life, waking up every day starving.
Leia’s reaction to Rey is warm but ambiguous. She greets her with a hug because the girl cared for Han and saw him die, and because Leia can sense she is strong with the force.
But are Rey and Kylo siblings? I’d say no.
Did Luke’s facial expression scream Skywalker family reunion?
As Rey reached out to him, he looked like he was going to chuck himself off the cliff, like that time he jumped off a ledge in Cloud City in Empire.
Vader begged him to join the dark side; Rey reaches out to him to rejoin the fight for the light. Episode VIII may reveal that Luke is her father. That’s not going to be shocking. And they could have done it in VII.
Comments from Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow hint that we might not get answers to Rey’s parentage until the end of the trilogy. That’s a long drawn out reveal when half the audience already think she’s Luke’s.
As for Kylo, cousin-rivalry will hardly have the pathos of the father-son duel in Return of the Jedi.
The Kenobi connection
A lot of fans are sold on this one; Rey is the granddaughter of old Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi.
Why Kenobi? He was a mentor figure for Anakin and Luke, and this is the Skywalker family show, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has stated. (We already have a Skywalker – Ren).
Kenobi was dead before Jedi, and Rey was born after the Battle of Endor, so no way is she his daughter. But Kenobi could have had a child who went on to have Rey… It’s unwieldy.
Kylo was likely named Ben after Kenobi. So he goes up against the granddaughter of his namesake, who may also be his cousin? It’s not really the “deeply and profoundly satisfying” ending Trevorrow promised.
Empire writer Lawrence Kasdan has said that Episode VIII will be “some weird thing,” which possibly suggests a stranger answer than Rey-is-a-Kenobi…
She’s the Force, reborn…
Some people say the shadow of Vader looms over Rey.
Rey picked up piloting and force skills so quickly both Han and then Kylo looked at her with amazement. But perhaps this isn’t Rey’s first rodeo. Yup, she’s the Rey-incarnation of Anakin/Vader.
Maybe after Anakin brought balance to the force, he saw his grandson fall to the dark side. He made the sacrifice to return and redeem him, the way Luke saved Vader. Kylo has been begging his grandfather to speak to him, to show him guidance.
Trevorrow said: “Rey is a character that is important in this universe, not just in the context of The Force Awakens, but in the entire galaxy.”
But even in a story about space wizards, telekinesis and ghosts, the fact is, reincarnation is considered silly.