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A Theory Awakens

Posted by: Casimir at 8:53 pm on Monday, December 28, 2015



Upon my second viewing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I was struck with an epiphany regarding the origins of the film’s protagonist, Rey. I’d like to document my theory, as I have not encountered it elsewhere. (I do not claim to be the only person to have thought of this, only that I have not seen it expressed elsewhere.)


Let me start by saying that, while I enjoyed the film and feel it’s a worthy successor to the original trilogy, I do feel some of the choices the writers made were somewhat clunky and ham-fisted. The writing seems to bend over backwards to create certain situations, manufacture drama, or bring characters together. Coincidence should never be a tool in a writer’s toolbox. That did not sit well with me. However, if my theory pans out, some of those clunky moments begin to make sense.

This epiphany occurred to me near the end of the film on my second viewing. As the Resistance ships return home after the destruction of Starkiller base (don’t get me started on that thing), the crews and pilots run to each other in celebration. However, Rey steps off the Falcon with a look of confusion. She’s never been there, and aside from her Wookie and droid companions, doesn’t know a soul. (Her other two human companions having been killed and knocked into a coma, respectively). General Organa separates from the crowd, and slowly approaches Rey. It occurred to me that this one moment seemed to drag on, and with a strange sense of awkwardness. Finally, Leia embraces Rey in a hug. Now I was really confused. Why would Leia do this to a stranger? Where’s the “You saw Han die?” discussion. For a movie that seemed to have no brakes, this moment ground to a halt. And then it struck me.

Rey is the daughter of Leia and Han. But Han never knew.

Luke didn’t know.

And neither did Rey.

Bear with me a moment. Here’s what we know from the film, with a few tidbits from various licensed books (mostly the novelization and the visual dictionary). The film takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi. Kylo Ren/Ben is roughly 30 years old, and is the known son of Han and Leia. Clearly, he was born within a year of the Battle of Endor. At some point in his childhood, Han and Leia sent Ben to be trained by Luke as a Jedi. Somewhere around age 10, Ben is seduced to the Dark Side by Snoke. Bad Things ensue, Ben becomes Kylo Ren, Han and Leia split up, and Luke blames himself and goes into hiding.

We know that Rey is roughly 20 years old and was left on Jakku by her family. And not much else.

I submit that just after Han and Leia split up, Leia discovered she was pregnant with a second child by Han. Fearing another problem child, she did not tell Han. (Presumably, she could not tell Luke, as he was missing.) Instead she sent the child off to be raised elsewhere. Somewhere along the line, Rey was left on Jakku. Maybe that was the plan. Maybe it wasn’t.

How else to explain Rey’s quick control of the Force, and her uncanny ability to know the ways of Han Solo well enough to finish his sentences?

Consider Lor San Tekka’s brief appearance at the beginning of the film. He’s obviously long familiar with Leia. It’s not out of the question that she sent him to Jakku to watch over Rey from a distance, much the way Obi-Wan watched over Luke. (Indeed, that was his job based on rumors of an earlier draft.)

One of my complaints after my first viewing was the handling of Han and Leia’s relationship. I thought the breakdown of their marriage/union/whatever undid the happy ending of Return of the Jedi. Splitting them up felt very cliché to me, and I am not a fan of clichés in modern writing. I felt a better solution would be to maintain their relationship, but maybe Leia had sent Han out years ago to find Ben, and he simply hadn’t been back. Maybe they sent emails and texts (or whatever they do in Star Wars), but hadn’t actually been in each others presence for years. That way we avoid all the clichéd awkwardness and get straight to the snappy banter. However, for my theory to hold true, Han and Leia would have to split up, and not talk for years. So maybe my initial complaint is made moot.

I find it unlikely that Rey is the character’s given name. I don’t recall the name “Rey” being spoken on-camera in front of Leia (Finn refers to Rey as “my friend” when he talks to Leia), but it’s likely Han said the name Rey when he brought Leia up to speed on recent events. Meaning Leia probably did not know her long-lost daughter was involved in anything until they laid eyes on each other after the Starkiller defeat.

It’s unlikely Rey knows of her true parentage. I doubt Leia would have told her at the end of the movie, keeping the secret for everyone’s safety. (Parallel to Obi-Wan and Yoda in previous films.) Otherwise, the cat would be out of the bag before Rey meets Luke. One assumes they’ll be starting a master-padawan type relationship, and a dramatic reveal regarding parentage is due in Episode VII.

The writers of The Force Awakens love to parallel the original trilogy, and this certainly fits that mold. The idea of a conflict between siblings Ben and “Rey” also matches up with the sibling-rivalry found in ancient myths. Siblings are in the DNA of Star Wars.

So no, I don’t think Ben and Rey are twins (10 years difference!). I really don’t think Rey is the daughter of Luke. (That theory holds NO water.) Rey is no one’s clone. And while parts of me would like to see Rey turn out to be just a nobody from a backwater planet, Disney is not in the business of selling the mundane. This theory is the only one I’ve considered that stands up to scrutiny, and can conceivably fit the narrative with the fewest holes.

“Rey” is the daughter of Han and Leia, and younger sibling to Kylo Ren/Ben. Check back in 2017.


About the Author: Casimir
Not satisfied with the limited options available at retail, award-winning customizer Cason Pilliod has been crafting his own toys since he was a child. His passion for toys merges with his background as a theatrical prop designer, allowing him to find unique customizing solutions, which he shares with the ever-growing customizing community via Inanimate Objects. Cason is also an armchair pop-culture historian, Swing dancer, DJ, daddy, and was once a Muppet wrangler, so he's got a unique spin on life. He also worked for Microsoft once, but let's just keep that a secret.




  • Raving Rob says:


    That’s a great theory. Something that I think backs it up a little was that when Leia hugs Rey at the end of the movie they play the ‘Han Solo and the Princess’ theme, which supports your theory.

    However, I question how you can hide a pregnancy in a major celebrity/politician and have a baby that no one knows about. She would have had contact with loads of people during the pregnancy.

    It was an issue I had with Ep 3. How can Anakin not know she is having twins (and how can Padme not know). In our world with our level of technology you would know these things so how can they not know in SW?

    I just think from a practical standpoint it makes more sense that Luke had a kid because the mother could be secret and hidden.

    I agree that due to the incestuous nature of SW she has to be either Leia’s or Luke’s. Though it would be very nice if she were just some random person who just so happened to have the power.

    If Rey is Leia’s then you would expect she might follow the same path as she took – giving the child to a politician friend to raise just as she had been raised.

    Then again, the Jedi plan for Luke was to hide him with his ‘uncle’ and have him keep the Skywalker name because who would think he was related to Anakin Skywalker…

    And why name their kid Ben. Wasn’t Ben just Obi-Wan’s name in hiding? Leia never called him anything but Obi-Wan and Han only called him ‘old man’. Only Luke called him Ben.

    And clearly I think about this too much!


  • Jack says:

    I too have thought that maybe Rey was Han and Leia’s. However, there were somethings that made me go away from that theory.

    First off I can’t see Liea just leaving a child that is of royal decent, child of one of the leaders of the resistance and someone with a bloodline connected to Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Also, being brother and sister wouldn’t Kylo sense this? I would think she would be safer with “mom”.

    Second, it would make more sense that Luke walked away from his child and her mother to keep her safe. Then something happened to her mom leaving her alone. In this theory you have to believe that Han and Liea were aware of what Luke did.

    Lastly, Han seemed to be drawn to Rey, like she was family but not his daughter. Like he put two and two together and realized that this was Liea’s niece. Then offering a job to her to keep her around without telling her who she is.

    Also,that hug didn’t come across as a mother finding her long lost daughter. Then to only send her away again. It came across like she found a long lost family member and I know where you father is. Then sent her to her father.

    In any case it has to be one of the two…JJ said Star Wars has always been the Skywalker’s story.

    I love Casmir’s theroy and I can’t wait until next year to find out!!


  • Casimir Casimir says:

    Good points! But I get the feeling someone like Leia could simply go on sabbatical for a few months and deliver a baby, with none the wiser. There are plenty of examples in real world history of the elite classes doing just that. Plus, I suspect a pregnancy is just not that big a deal in the social world of Star Wars, based on no one batting an eye at Padme. I guess I’m saying I have less of a problem with a “secret pregnancy” than I do with other things like hiding a Skywalker in plain sight. As for your point regarding the name Ben, I had the same thought. We can assume Leia had heard Luke’s stories, and perhaps the name Ben was meant as an honorific without drawing too much attention. (i.e. the name Obi_wan has a reputation, and it might not always be welcome, whereas Ben could be anybody.)

  • Mark Tidridge says:

    I’m with you on this totally. Lor San tekka is her protector and has part of the plan for her to fulfill her destiny when she is ready. As he has the missing map piece to allow her to meet up with luke. Luke hides the rest of the map in r2 and instructs him to sleep until rey appears. Snoke is plagues and created anakin, wants Ben for his genes and now they’ve found someone stronger than Ben as she can block him he goes after her. Fits all the parallels with the other trilogies and would be a great fit.
    I came to the same conclusion today on a long drive lol

  • Just a thought says:


    Yeah just read the interview from OCTOBER 01, 2015

    FROM Kathleen Kennedy, “The Saga films focus on the Skywalker family saga,” she explains. “The stories follow a linear narrative that connects to the previous six films. The Force Awakens follows Return of the Jedi and continues that generational story. The Anthology films offer opportunities to explore fresh characters, new storylines and a variety of genres inside the Star Wars universe.”

    Yes, the Skywalker Family, not Solo Family or Kenobi Family.

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