One enigmatic shot in the new trailer for The Rise of Skywalker suggests we’re about to learn much more about Rey’s origin.
It’s a starship cutting through storm clouds over a glowing, mountainous village. The shape isn’t easy to make out, but freeze-framing and enhancing reveals it’s one we’ve seen before.
There’s no doubt — this is the ship Rey saw abandoning her on Jakku as a child in her vision from The Force Awakens.
A new possibility about the upcoming film emerges after examining the teaser trailer again and coupling it with details about The Chosen One prophecy described for the first time in the new Star Wars novel Master & Apprentice.
First, a disclaimer — there is no inside information here. Just speculation of the sort everyone is engaging with as they wonder what The Rise of Skywalker might mean. Some think “Skywalker” will just become a new term for Jedi, but what if it refers to something else?
I’ve been asked again and again what I think it means, so here goes … (or if you prefer not to hear theories, stop here).
The Missing Past
In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren told Rey that her parents “were filthy junk traders,” who sold her for drinking money. “They’re dead, in a pauper’s grave in the Jakku desert.”
I think he meant “parents” from “a certain point of view,” as Obi-Wan Kenobi might hedge.
Perhaps only Rey’s Jakku caretakers were the drunks who sold her into slavery for booze before succumbing to deaths that were as meaningless as their lives. She definitely saw a vision of a starship abandoning her on the junkyard planet, so whoever was in that ship was leaving Jakku.
The Rise of Skywalker trailer shows we’re going to see that ship again — and likely learn who was inside it.
Rey was deposited in the middle of nowhere. She was raised as a nobody. But she has proven her value, her independence, her persistence. We already know who she is.
But she is driven to know more. She wants to fill in those blanks and understand exactly where she comes from. That’s certainly understandable. We often try to chart our future by first coming to terms with our past.
Some fans believe there is a disturbance in the Force between what Rey learned in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi and what J.J. Abrams set up in The Force Awakens, but I think the two filmmakers are actually working in tandem.
Remember what she saw in the mirror cave beneath the temple in The Last Jedi? It was an infinite number of her own self, all lined up, each following the actions of the one behind. When she pleaded with the Force to see her parents, the vision she received was of herself.
What if that wasn’t a dodge by the powers of the Force? What if that was literal truth? It could have ominous implications.
What if Rey is part of an experiment to artificially create powerful Force-sensitive warriors?
The Hero With a Thousand Faces
This was the title of the late Joseph Campbell’s book about mythology that George Lucas cherished, and while it explored common themes in storytelling across different eras and cultures, it might be meaningful if the saga finds a way to bring that title to new life.
Remember, the Star Wars universe is one in which cloning is commonplace. Whoever Rey may be — could she contain elements of other Force-wielders of ages gone by?
As Luke Skywalker’s voice says in the new teaser, “A thousand generations live in you now …”
Rey would still be her own unique self. After all, everyone is descended from someone, and we all carry pieces of the past, deciding for ourselves what we will do with them.
It’s a personal quest for Rey. She wants to know who her “parents” are, what her biological origin is, but even if the answer to that is shocking or unsettling — as Luke once discovered on that skyway in Cloud City — it’s also empowering to note that we are not just the genetics we inherit. Ultimately, we define the direction of our lives, for good or ill.
Maybe Rey has been defying that destiny from the very beginning.
Imagine dark forces attempting to create a powerful figure only to end up with something that they don’t want or expect – a girl.
What would be done with her then? Disposal?
Maybe that’s how she ends up discarded on Jakku. And maybe we’ll learn that Rey has no parents, but has genetic ties to characters we know — some we cherish, some we fear.
What if within her is The Rise of Skywalker? Maybe she will prove to be The Chosen One who choses the light.
The “Chosen One” Prophecy
There’s another clue in the new Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi novel Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray.
For the first time, Gray delves into the exact wording of the prophecy that made the Jedi council suspect Anakin was The Chosen One during the prequels.
Only through sacrifice of many Jedi will the Order cleanse the sin done to the nameless.
The danger of the past is not past, but sleeps in an egg. When the egg cracks, it will threaten the galaxy entire.
When the Force itself sickens, past and future must split and combine.
A Chosen One shall come, born of no father, and through him will ultimate balance in the Force be restored.
Many of the allusions here are clear, like Order 66 exterminating the Jedi. But what about “Sleeps in an egg”? Perhaps that corresponds to the image of the cloning facility we see in Attack of the Clones, but it could also be the chamber where Darth Vader recuperates in The Empire Strikes Back.
“Past and future must split and combine…” The “split” in this paradoxical phrase could be the deviation of such a clone, and the “combine” could be the assembly of elements that create this new being, the scavenger girl, the nobody from nowhere who rises from nothing and saves the galaxy.
It would be especially powerful if she discovers this and manages to reject the darkness that enveloped the one who came before.
You know who.
Maybe this is all nonsense and errant speculation. But there’s one last hint about this in the teaser trailer. It’s a bit of a stretch, I admit, but consider it for a moment.
We open on darkness, and all we hear is the rush of Rey’s breath, in and out. Who else do we know by the sound of breathing alone?
Only in this case, Rey is not gasping but calming herself, pushing out the fear and anger.
Those things have no place in her. Whatever her origin, she is different.