SPOILER WARNING – Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker spoilers lie ahead…
So now we know who Rey’s parents are. The Rise Of Skywalker finally revealed the answer to the question we have been pondering since The Force Awakens.
The galaxy is full of spoilers so if you haven’t seen the final instalment yet, catch up and then return to this article.
Seen The Rise Of Skywalker? Good! Let’s move on.
Rey was finally revealed to be a Palpatine, with the evil Emperor himself as her grandfather. Her parents hid her on Jakku for her own safety, knowing what the influence of the Emperor could do to Rey.
While the revelation may seem like fan service, we think there is more to it, and that it’s actually a bold and inspired move.
When we first meet Rey on Jakku she is a lost soul who craves not just answers about her past, but also some kind of meaning to her life.
The option of becoming a Jedi, and having possibly descended from a Jedi bloodline, gives Rey hope that she is important and special. She feels a strong connection to the Force and with that comes a sense of purpose.
The Last Jedi teased that Rey’s parents were nobodies, just filthy junk traders. When Kylo Ren forces this answer out of Rey, it’s Rey voicing her biggest fear in life; that she is no one, just discarded trash.
The Last Jedi also explores Rey’s other fear: the pull she feels towards the dark side. Rey feels the power of the Force, but with great power, comes great responsibility, and she fears the dark side might consume her completely.
This is further explored in The Rise Of Skywalker when Rey violently takes down a transport ship, completely destroying it and everyone inside.
Needless to say, Rey is shocked to find out she is a Palpatine. This is the worst‐case scenario for her.
Put yourself in her shoes; you have been on this incredibly emotional and physically draining journey to find yourself, and the truth about your past, only to find out that the one thing that makes you powerful and special descends from pure evil that nearly destroyed the whole galaxy.
And this is exactly where the genius of the revelation lies. At the very end of The Rise Of Skywalker, an old woman on Tatooine asks Rey for her name. She hesitates for a moment, but encouraged by the sight of the ghosts of Leia and Luke, she tells the woman she is Rey Skywalker.
She actively chooses her name, her family and her destiny. Being a Skywalker isn’t about whose blood runs through your veins, but about your choices and your nature, the inherent goodness within you. The Force is open to anyone; the Force sees no family trees, no blood, only potential and character.
And this is not just the case with Rey, but also with Finn. While he never reveals in the film what he wanted to tell Rey, it becomes clear he is Force-sensitive, instinctively sensing things.
The pair prove that regardless of your upbringing and where you start out in life, you can fulfil your potential. This is a similar conclusion Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi drew.
If Rey’s parents were no one of significance, and Rey still became a powerful Jedi, it would have signalled hope that anyone can be a Jedi, anyone can be a Skywalker.
What Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams added with The Rise Of Skywalker was internal conflict for Rey and a few extra turns to the story, but they too arrived at an ending that is kind and hopeful to all the coming generations of children in the galaxy.
The first three episodes of the Skywalker Saga are about Anakin’s descent to the dark side, while the next three are about Luke’s quest for the light.
With the revelation of Rey’s heritage and Ben Solo’s journey, the latest trilogy is about the all important balance and accepting both the light and darkness within oneself, and actively choosing the light over dark.
Both Rey and Ben’s narratives reinforce and reflect those of Luke and Anakin.
Luke and Rey refuse to be defined by their bloodlines and resist the darkness within themselves, while both Ben and Anakin fall to the dark side, but find it within themselves to find the good and the light to redeem themselves.
There is, and always will be, hope in the galaxy.