Rey and Palpatine in Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker
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Credit: Lucasfilm

The Rise of Skywalker finally reveals Rey's past. We have some strong feelings.

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Dec 21, 2019

When fans were first introduced to Daisy Ridley’s Rey in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, they met a hardened scavenger looking for her place in the galaxy. She made some friends along the way — outsiders like herself — and became the galaxy’s newest new hope.

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi seemed to confirm, in a way, exactly what Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) had told Rey, that she was a nobody from nowhere. She didn’t have “a place in this story,” a story that’s always held stock in names and bloodlines as much as it did ability.

Then came Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.

**SPOILER WARNING: This story contains major spoilers for Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.**

In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey learns that she is not, in fact, an irrelevant nobody. She is very much a somebody, much to her — and my — horror. Rey learns that she is the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine, the biggest bad to ever be a big bad in the Star Wars galaxy.

We don’t get further explanation, either. Rey’s parents moved to hide her from the Emperor, who wanted to use her power, potentially to restore his own body to full power (yikes). Her parents succeeded in hiding her from the Sith bounty hunter the Emperor had sent, and they died for it. Rey was sold to Unkar Plutt (turns out she was a slave) and then spent years as a scrapper on Jakku, supposedly having forgotten her memories due to the emotional trauma she suffered.

She forgot her past to protect herself. I wish I could forget, too.

Credit: Lucasfilm

If you like that Rey is a Palpatine, I really can’t be mad at you. I’m actually jealous of you; I wish I liked it.

There was, for me, something so poignant about Rey really being a nobody, a speck of sand in the galaxy far, far away. For the longest time, a very specific set of rules existed in this universe that tied very specific families together. That’s why there have always been so many fan theories about Rey’s parentage because people truly expected her to be somebody — that’s how the Star Wars universe works.

But I loved her being a nobody. Or, rather, I loved that Rey, for a time, was further proof that you don’t have to come from something great to be great. She could struggle with her non-family-related demons perfectly well. She didn’t have to have a horrible family legacy of darkness to have darkness inside her, just like every other person out there.

That Rey then had to be someone to matter to the story and do the right thing is disappointing. We’re not even sure how she came to be. We don’t know anything about her parents, we don’t know whether she was conceived naturally or by way of Midi-chlorians like Anakin Skywalker. Nothing. Not that everything needs an explanation, but I would like an explanation for that, at the very least.

(And we’re not even going to get into the fact that Rey and Ben Solo are, technically, kissing cousins now, thanks to a comic book reveal that Palpatine was probably responsible for using the Force to impregnate Shmi Skywalker in the first place. I can’t process that right now.)

Ultimately, none of this really matters. Even as Rise of Skywalker tried to be everything for every fan, not everyone is going to agree with every decision J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm made. And that’s fine. It’s not for me to decide what works and what doesn’t, because it is what it is.

The Rise of Skywalker is here. Rey is a Palpatine. At least she now has her answers.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBCUniversal.

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