Potential Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker spoilers below. Tread carefully…
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After watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens fans could not stop talking about one specific thing — Rey’s parentage. In typical J.J. Abrams fashion, the director famous for his mystery boxes (see Lost) included certain scenes in the film that inspired fans to theorise and speculate about Rey’s origins. Who are her parents? Is she Luke’s daughter? Is she Obi-Wan’s granddaughter? Why did they leave her behind? Abrams answered none of these questions in the film itself. When The Last Jedi came along, this time helmed by Rian Johnson, it was revealed by Kylo Ren that Rey’s parents are nobodies, who sold her off for drinking money.
While I love this reveal and the thematic significance of it, there’s no denying that it rubbed certain portions of the fandom a wrong way. Of course, there’s the very real possibility that Kylo Ren could be lying or perhaps even he didn’t know the whole truth (think something along the lines of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones). Which brings me to the massive rumour. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker sees the return of J.J. Abrams to the director’s chair so it’s safe to assume that he might be adding another wrinkle to the big mystery he set up in The Force Awakens.
On the ‘Making Star Wars’ Patreon podcast (via ComicBook.com), it was revealed that Rey’s father is none other than Han Solo. Note that ‘Making Star Wars’ made it very clear that this is merely a rumour they caught in the wind. The rumour claims that when Leia decides to train with Luke for a while, Han has an affair with another woman, resulting in an unplanned pregnancy. Ben Solo AKA Kylo Ren learns of his father’s infidelity and that is why Han sends him off to train with Luke.
This rumour is deeply intriguing. For one, it makes Star Wars more complex and ‘adult’, which is in line with the tone and trajectory of the new Disney-era Star Wars films. To have one of the most beloved good guys in all of fantasy-fiction cheat on his wife, the iconic Princess Leia is a bold story choice. I love it as it further explores one of the best themes in The Last Jedi: Our heroes are flawed.
It would also add another layer of complexity to the character of Ben Solo/Kylo Ren. In the eighth episode of the Star Wars franchise, we learn that he felt betrayed by his uncle Luke, who in a moment of weakness contemplated killing Ben. Now imagine learning that he felt wronged by his father too. One can understand how that would cause a young man to be enraged and vulnerable, allowing the Dark Side of the force to seduce him.
The only peculiar aspect of the rumour is Leia training with Luke. While this is explored in depth in the Legends novels — Leia is actually one of Luke’s first students — it isn’t part of the new canon. That said, this wouldn’t be the first time elements from Legends are taken and altered to include in stories of the new canon.
After the rumour went viral, a Star Wars fan tweeted at the head of Lucasfilm story group, Pablo Hidalgo and asked if there’s any weight to the rumour. To which Hidalgo responded:
“That doesn’t fit with the timeline. Han and Leia were together until about 5 years before The Force Awakens, when it all went to hell, and Rey is 19.”
While I don’t buy into the rumour completely — mostly because I love the idea of Rey being a nobody, but also because Rey being Han’s daughter still doesn’t explain why she’s so powerful — I do find the rumour intriguing, though. And I’m not sure if Pablo Hidalgo completely debunked the theory. After all, the rumour suggests that Han cheated on Leia, not had sex with someone else while they were on break.
However, the fact that Hidalgo actually took the time to clarify the issue most likely means that the rumour isn’t true. He probably wants fans to manage our expectations and not buy too much into wild theories and rumours.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits cinemas this December.