'Star Wars' Awakens a Big Question: Just Who is Rey?

Warning: Spoilers follow for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"!

In the record-breaking "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," audiences learn fairly quickly the parents of central villain Kylo Ren. But what of Rey, a character for whom the Force is also strong?

For those readers who disregarded the spoiler warning, important plot points, significant events and game-changing character developments from "The Force Awakens" appear below, so continue with caution.


Played by Daisy Ridley, Rey is in her early 20s, meaning she was born 10 to 11 years after the Battle of Endor depicted in “Return of the Jedi.” Introduced as a scavenger on the desert planet Jakku, she’s waiting for the return of her family, but is instead found by a rolling droid (BB-8) and a First Order deserter (John Boyega’s Stormtrooper Finn).

Rey is arguably the most important character in the new storyline, but when the end credits roll on “The Force Awakens,” audiences are left wondering just who her parents are. We work our way through a handful of possibilities below.

Han and Leia's Child

A gifted pilot and mechanic as well as a fearless adventurer and tactician, Rey could easily be the daughter of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and General Leia (Carrie Fisher). She even looks the part. However, there are a few reasons why this theory doesn't quite work.

Based on what we’ve seen, she remembers her family and is simply awaiting their return to Jakku. What’s more, Rey clearly doesn’t know Han and Leia, nor do they react to her as their child. The final indication this isn't a possibility is the other character introduced as the child of Han and Leia: Kylo Ren and Rey don’t recognize each other, and there’s certainly no indication they’re siblings separated at birth. Although, Kylo Ren does react strongly when he learns that a girl helped BB-8 escape from Jakku. It should be noted that in the Expanded Universe (now classified by Lucasfilm as the non-canonical Legends), Han and Leia have twins -- a son and a daughter. The son Jacen later becomes the Sith Lord known as Darth Caedus, while the daughter Jaina becomes a Jedi.

Luke Skywalker's Child

Rey is Force-sensitive, so she could be Leia's daughter, but it also means she could be the child of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). The big tell here is a scene at Maz Kanata's castle on Takodana where Rey is drawn to Luke's lightsaber and, upon seizing the Jedi's weapon, is hurled into a vision state where, among many things, she sees and hears a mourning Luke being comforted by R2-D2. The obvious question here is if Luke is the father, who is the mother?

Again, in the Expanded Universe that has since been stricken from canon, Luke was married to Mara Jade, the former Hand of the Emperor who gives birth to a son named Ben. However, Mara is nowhere to be seen in “The Force Awakens.”

No words are spoken when Rey and Luke come face to face in the film's final moments, and there’s no suggestion that they recognize each other. However, based on the connection through the lightsaber, this theory remains a strong possibility.

Two Star-Crossed Lovers

While Mara Jade exists in Legends, and thereby is likely off-limits to J.J. Abrams and sequel directors Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow, there’s an in-continuity set of circumstances worth exploring. On Sept. 4, Disney Lucasfilm Press released "Star Wars: Lost Stars," a young-adult novel by Claudia Gray that’s part of the “Journey to ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens'” series. Here’s the solicitation text:

This thrilling Young Adult novel gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe, from the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire. Readers will experience these major moments through the eyes of two childhood friends--Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell--who have grown up to become an Imperial officer and a Rebel pilot. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these two star-crossed lovers reunite, or will duty tear them--and the galaxy--apart?

"Star Wars: Lost Stars" also includes all-new post-"Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" content, as well as hints and clues about the upcoming film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," making this a must-read for all Star Wars fans.

The first major disturbance in the Force is that the female lead is named Ciena Ree. It’s not exactly “Rey,” but it's pretty close. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the “star-crossed lovers” do reunite in "Star Wars: Lost Stars,” and much of the story takes place during the Battle of Jakku. Wait a second -- isn't that where Rey lives?

Just a High Midi-Chlorian Count?

"Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force. When you learn to quiet your mind, you'll hear them speaking to you."

That’s how Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) explains midi-chlorians to young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) in 1999’s "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace." However, many moviegoers are still confused by George Lucas' high concept. Basically, midi-chlorians are tiny intelligent lifeforms that exist within the cells of all living things. The Force speaks through the midi-chlorians, allowing certain beings to tap into that power. That's a checkmark for Rey.

Also, midi-chlorian counts are used to determine a being's potential in the Force. So maybe all we need from Rey is a blood test. The highest known midi-chlorian count to date – more than 20,000 – belonged to Anakin Skywalker, aka the Chosen One (aka Darth Vader), who was believed to have been conceived by midi-chlorians. Is Rey the Chosen One 2.0 and the result of another virgin birth? Hard to believe that Abrams and Co. would go this route since many fans aren't enamored with the idea of midi-chlorians, but it remains a possibility.

Going Completely Off the Dejarik Board

Another possibility is that audiences simply haven't met Rey's parents yet. Or maybe we have and we just don't know it. Count Dooku's family line, including his powerful sister-in-law Kostanza, was explored in the Dark Horse comic series "Star Wars: Agent of the Empire.” And what do we really know about Admiral Ackbar?

Maybe it's all a (parent) trap!

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