One of the breakout character from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (besides BB-8, of course) is Daisy Ridley’s mysterious Rey. Let’s consider the obvious questions and some other stuff as well. Major spoilers for The Force Awakens ahead.
I’m glad I avoided the spoilers and speculation so I could see things revealed the way they were meant to. Combined with the deliberate misleads in the trailers and posters I didn’t start the movie expecting her to be the Force sensitive one of the next generation though it becomes more apparent as the movie goes on.
But Rey is more than just a potential Jedi who can pick up Force skills on the fly (mind-tricking Stormtrooper Bond into releasing her from restraints) with no formal training. She can fly the Millenium Falcon with the same “never tell me the odds” style as Han Solo and in the end even takes over the left seat of the Falcon with Chewbacca’s and Leia’s approval. Finally, Rey is never a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued. She actively works to get out her tough spots and fortunately has (or develops on the spot) the right skills necessary for the job. It’s easy to argue that Rey is a Mary Sue of the highest order. But I’m okay with that for now, at least until her background is filled in. Then I’ll do the nitpicking. (ETA: if my position on the Mary Sue thing isn’t clear, it’s pretty much in line with this post on The Verge.)
I think it’s safe to say most people think Rey is a granddaughter of Anakin Skywalker, either through Leia or Luke. Depending on how you interpret certain things in the movie it’s possible Leia and Han know (or knew in Han’s case) who Rey is though they didn’t reveal it in front of her. Rey’s story clearly parallels Luke’s from A New Hope. Rey grew up on a desert world far from the bright shiny center of things and her call to action also comes in the form of a droid being hunted by forces led by a Dark Side Force user in a mask. And of course Daisy Ridley looks like she could be the granddaughter of Padme* or maybe even the daughter of Leia** (which probably was a factor in her casting). Personally I lean more towards Rey being Luke’s daughter but we’ll see, hopefully in the early scenes of Episode VIII.
Other questions that may or may not be answered in Episode VIII:
- Why does Rey have that accent? It’s almost certainly unimportant unless it relates to her mysterious past but it was something that struck me as soon as she started speaking.
- Where did that Rebel pilot’s helmet Rey briefly puts on come from? Is it from a salvaged Rebel fighter or something left with her by whoever dropped her off at Jakku?
- Since Rey is proficient with a staff will she get her hands on a double bladed lightsaber like Darth Maul? At least it would be easier to carry around.
*As I jokingly wrote in another post, because of the often mentioned resemblance between Daisy Ridley and Keira Knightley, Rey may actually be the granddaughter of Knightley’s bodyguard double character from The Phantom Menace and not a Skywalker at all. That would be a neat twist but it’s unlikely.
**Though interestingly enough Carrie Fisher’s own daughter appears in the film but if you didn’t know who she was you wouldn’t guess the relationship.