The Star Wars Rey character (played by Daisy Ridley) is undoubtedly a fan favorite following The Force Awakens’ record-breaking opening weekend box office.
Sexists who didn’t believe that a female lead could carry the latest installment to record-breaking numbers were quickly proven wrong when the film grossed a worldwide take of $517 million in its first two and a half days, according to Box Office Mojo.
But aside from Ridley giving an excellent performance, her character has left many fans intrigued.
This article is about to deliver some heavy spoilers from The Force Awakens, so if you haven’t watched the movie yet, stop reading and bookmark this for later.
Now that the obligatory warning is out of the way, it’s time to talk about whom the Star Wars Rey character really is.
At first, fans expected an Expanded Universe rehash and that Rey would in reality be the sister of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the daughter of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher).
While Solo does appear to sense some familiarities in Rey as he gets to know her, there isn’t a sense he feels that father-child connection in the way he does to Ren. Leia’s interactions with Rey are even more distant.
By the end of the film, it was pretty apparent Rey was not their child. Luke Skywalker, on the other hand, is another story.
It’s possible Luke fell in love with someone after Return of the Jedi and fathered a daughter. However, that, too, seems improbable the more you think about it.
Luke ultimately fails to reestablish the Jedi order, but prior to that failure, it was clear he was very much committed to it. That means no love, no hate, etc.
From the unsettling flashback Rey experiences when she first lays eyes on Luke’s, which is in reality Anakin’s, lightsaber, it is clear hers and Luke’s paths have crossed before, when she was very young.
If that wasn’t enough, there is something of the Force Luke seems to recognize in the Star Wars Rey character in the film’s final shot.
But the idea she is Rey Skywalker, daughter of Luke, is about as unlikely as her being Rey Solo.
And that’s where the Star Wars Rey character really gets interesting.
If she isn’t a Solo and she isn’t Luke’s daughter, yet she possesses all these amazing Jedi powers, then who could she be?
Since fans have been told the Star Wars saga will always revolve around the Skywalker family, according to SlashFilm, it’s pretty clear she bears some relation to Luke and Leia, but not as their offspring.
To understand the full connection, it’s important for Star Wars fans to go back further to Anakin Skywalker himself.
What do we know about Anakin?
For starters, he has no father. The prequels reveal he is very much an anomaly in the Force, in much the same way Christians point to Jesus as being The Chosen One, born of a Virgin.
We also know that Anakin had twins — Luke and Leia — and “died” shortly thereafter, giving into his hate and becoming Darth Vader. We also know Vader is a strong presence in this new trilogy.
Kylo Ren worships him as some kind of deity, almost as if he doesn’t believe Vader is gone for good — that he will one day come back and reveal himself to Ren in the same way Christ revealed himself to the apostles after his resurrection.
When Ren tries to control Rey, he finds that he can’t, thus realizing the full extent of her power. Still, he doesn’t fully understand who Rey is. But there is a feeling she is the one he’s been waiting for, which is explicitly spelled out in the final lightsaber duel.
Just before Rey turns the tables on him, Ren speaks of her great power and offers to train her. He clearly feels a deeper connection to her than the one he feels toward Supreme Leader Snoke.
He believes that Rey is the one who can help him “finish what you started,” a line he speaks to Vader’s charred mask earlier in the film.
What did Vader initially want with Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy? He wanted Luke to come to the Dark Side, to strike down the Emperor, so they could rule the galaxy together as father and son.
By now, you probably know where this is going.
The Star Wars Rey character is not a new character at all. She is not the biological daughter of Luke, Leia, Han, Obi-wan Kenobi, or Anakin Skywalker.
She is Anakin Skywalker.
Why else would she have powers greater than Luke and Ren and everyone else?
Luke doesn’t have anywhere close to the intense reaction in A New Hope that Rey does in The Force Awakens when seeing Anakin’s Jedi lightsaber for the first time.
He even picks it up and waves it around with no reaction whatsoever. Not so for Rey.
In her vision there is darkness and light, pain, anger, hatred, the sense of abandonment Anakin felt as a boy and later as a man when Obi-wan struck him down, thus pushing him fully into his hatred.
The Star Wars Rey character, in that scene, is awakening to the fact she possesses all the same powers Anakin did, and she is terrified by it because she knows the history surrounding that weapon.
She has felt it before. All of it.
The wonderful thing about The Force Awakens is that it does such an incredible job with reversals. The Han-Ren storyline is the inverse of the Luke-Darth thread in Return of the Jedi.
Luke training Rey, especially if she turns out to be Anakin Skywalker, would be another reversal, and it would fuel Ren’s jealousy and hatred toward Luke even more.
It would also present a moral conundrum for Rey/Anakin as she struggles to come to terms with whom she wishes to be — the Darkness or the Light?
If she is Anakin reborn, she’ll have to decide between her grandson (Ren) and her son (Luke), two men bound by blood, vying for the soul of the most powerful life form to ever come out of the Force.
Rey being Anakin would also use reincarnation like The Phantom Menace uses the Virgin Birth — in a unique, one-off way. In other words, neither has ever happened to another character in the Star Wars Universe. When they do happen, they involve the same character.
Ultimately, it would make the new trilogy be about the ultimate redemption of Anakin Skywalker — his full journey back to the Light. Humanity restored.
It fits. It’s compelling. It would be special to one character — Anakin/Vader.
It makes a heck of a lot more sense than the Star Wars Rey character being the daughter of Luke, Han, Leia, or Obi-wan Kenobi.
And most people wouldn’t see it coming.
But what do you think, readers? Is the Star Wars Rey character really Anakin Skywalker reborn, and if not, who do you think she is?
[Image via Lucasfilm/Disney]