So I saw the new Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night for the second time, and loved it just as much this time as the first. *I think that it did a fantastic job at both paying homage to the films that came before it, while still feeling very much like a Star Wars film.
*edit: enough time has passed for the rose-colored glasses to come off, but I do still enjoy this film. It’s just the sequels that leave a bad taste in my mouth.
SPOILERS. SPOILERS EVERYWHERE IN THIS ARTICLE.
One of the best parts about watching it were the many questions left unanswered. How did The First Order come into power after the fall of The Empire? Who exactly was the old guy at the start of the film – the one that Poe retrieves the map fragment from? Who is the main character Rey, and who is her family?
This fan theory focuses on the last.
It Doesn’t Matter
Before I even watched the movie, I liked the idea of Rey not being related to anyone we know. Star Wars already suffers considerably from the Small Universe Syndrome, where the entire Galaxy seems to revolve around a chosen few and coincidences start stacking up like patties on a delicious burger.
Like seriously. This is a universe where Darth Vader built C-3PO, Yoda and Chewbacca were besties, and siblings separated at birth by entire star systems reunite and kiss. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Poe ends up being Wedge Antilles’ son.
However, after first watching the film, it became clear that Rey’s origin story will become central to the next films and that we will almost certainly know her true family in some form another.
There are definite allusions to Rey having a bond or connection with Han Solo. She pilots the Millennium Falcon quite capably, has the same ideas on ship maintenance, and most importantly, Han seems to genuinely like and respect her. I don’t have a copy of the movie next to me, so all quotes in this article will be paraphrased from memory, but Han offers her a job citing their mutual respect of the Falcon, and needing someone “who can keep up with me and Chewie”.
When Kylo Ren force peeks into her mind, he finds thoughts of bond between her and Han, saying “He feels like the father you never had. Doesn’t matter; he would have disappointed you.”
And it’s that last quote that resonates with me the most, as watching the film, I never saw their relationship as anything more than mutual respect, with Han becoming a sort of ‘foster’ father to her, rather than a literal one.
The idea of her being the child of both Leia and Han is absurd and convoluted, plus even though the two are no longer officially together, you can easily tell that they still love each other fiercely – only separating so they can deal with the betrayal of their only son to the dark side.
“I know. Every time you look at me you see him, you see our son”Han to Leia
Sure it’s possible that when Han left Leia to become a born again smuggler he hooked up with someone else, but this doesn’t really seem like something Han would do – especially when he still loves Leia. If it turns out Rey is Han’s daughter and Han simply never knew he even had one, then I would consider that quite lazy writing.
The next obvious choice is that Rey is Luke’s daughter – but there are really only two strong pieces of evidence to support this. The first is that she is clearly strong with the force, and the second is her affinity to Luke’s lightsaber.
The first, that she is strong with the force, pretty much means nothing on its own. I think it just reminds us of Luke because we get to see her young and struggling on a desert planet, not knowing her parents, leaving the planet on the Millennium Flacon, and finally slowly uncovering the force. Wow, this movie really does a fantastic job of giving us familiarity with the originals while still being a completely different story – and that’s the point. I think it’s more of a tie-in to make us feel like this is a Star Wars film more than evidence that she is related to Luke.
But what about her visions when touching Luke’s lightsaber? On the surface, that certainly feels like damning evidence pointing towards her being a little Skywalker spawn, but once you go more in-depth (which I will in the next section), it starts to fall apart. What I will say here is that the lightsaber belonged to Anakin, then Luke, and last we see is Rey presenting it to its former master. So Grandfather, father, and now daughter? Maybe!
And here is the winning answer! The original films had three main families. Luke (Skywalker), Han (Solo), and Ben (Kenobi). These three families have deep ties together, with Leia and Han even likely naming their son after Ben Kenobi. But Ben Solo is no more, replaced by temper tantrum-prone Kylo Ren. SO WHERE THE HELL IS MY KENOBI?
Well, technically there is a Kenobi in The Force Awakens (not including Rey). I missed it the first time but caught it in my second viewing. During Rey’s lightsaber induced visions, you can clearly hear Ewen McGreggor (who played Obi-wan in the prequels) speaking. A quick google confirms this to be true and more. Not only does Ewen McGreggor have a voice overlay in this vision, but the late Alec Guinness (Obi-wan in the originals) does as well!
So when touching a Skywalker relic, instead of seeing or hearing a Skywalker, she hears a Kenobi speak her name – reaching out to her. Furthermore, she sees Luke’s Padawan Ben Solo turn to the Dark Side when he slaughters all of the Padawans in a similar fashion to what Obi-wan’s Padawan Anakin did before him. Thematically speaking, it certainly makes the most sense that Rey would be the child of a Kenobi. Also, let’s not forget that although the lightsaber belonged to Anakin and Luke, Obi-wan possessed it for 18 years as well (but I doubt this really means much).
NOTE: I’m obviously biased, but I think the following is a hell of a lot better than what we got haha.
As of episode VI, Return of the Jedi, there are no known Kenobi relatives. Obi-Wan Kenobi went to live on Tatooine to look over Luke and also hide from Darth Vader and The Empire. His entire order has been destroyed with the only remaining survivors being himself and Yoda. I think it quite reasonable that in his grief and loneliness, he allowed his Jedi values to falter long enough to bring a baby boy into the galaxy.
But Obi-wan is a man who was raised in the Jedi order with Jedi values. After seeing first hand with Anakin why the Jedi Order always forbade having families, he decided he needed to separate from his new child. Furthermore, his very existence endangers the boy’s life. Now, I’d like to think that Obi-wan wasn’t a dick and still checked in on his son once in a while, but generally speaking, he had to remove himself from his child’s life, only watching from afar (you know, like he did for Luke).
Fast forward to the fall of The Empire and Vader’s redemption. I think it’s safe to assume that Luke left to gain more mastery of the force, possibly guided by the force ghosts of Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Yoda. Eventually, he decides to take on two Padawans. This is where Luke discovers the existence of Obi-wan’s son, either through his use of the force or perhaps Jedi ghost Kenobi just straight up tells him.
So now Luke is training both Obi-wan’s kin, Leia and Han’s, and a few years later he expands to include a few other force-sensitive children. However, Kenobi Jr, on one of his off-world adventures falls in love and has a child – a daughter. Disappointed and scared that he broke his Jedi Oath, he decides to keep his child a secret, and like his father before him, supports his family from afar. Some cycles are hard to break.
Now, I’m not sure how Supreme Leader Snoke falls into this, but it would be around this time that he makes himself known to Luke and his new Jedi Order. Perhaps he first shows up to see how strong Luke is and learn more of the force, or perhaps he literally comes there with the intent of pilfering one of Luke’s Padawans. Snoke gains access to Ben Solo and starts showing him the power of the Dark Side behind Luke’s back, slowly manipulating and seducing him with dark power and purpose.
With Ben Solo literally named after Kenobi Jr’s father, it seems likely they would have formed a budding friendship with each other, especially if they were the first two Padawans and likely the oldest. Maybe even having the kind of bromance that Obi-wan and Anakin were supposed to have in the prequels. As Ben Solo becomes more secretive and emotionally distant due to his ties with Snoke, Kenobi jr confides in Luke that he fears Ben is falling to the Dark Side.
Luke is all like, “I feel it too, but don’t worry. I’ll do everything in my power to ensure he stays on the path of light”. He fails. Ben falls slowly but surely away from the light each passing day. Becoming increasinly weary of and concerned for Ben, Kenobi Jr returns to Luke and confesses that he has a child. So Luke tells Kenobi jr the hard truth, that his daughter is no longer safe and that he must take her far away where the forces of darkness cannot find her.
In a panicked rush, Kenobi Jr rushes to his wife and convinces her that they must give up their daughter in order to keep her safe. They decide the planet of Jakku is safe enough, and before leaving their daughter Rey on the planet, they assure her that they will return for her as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Finally, in playback to Anakin’s turn to Darth Vader, Snoke only agrees to teach Ben how to master the Dark Side of the Force if he destroys Luke’s new Jedi Order. Ben agrees, so Snoke rechristens him Kylo Ren. Kylo Ren goes and slaughters all of the children, including his former best friend Kenobi Jr.