With the release of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker barreling down on us, nearly every day a new tidbit — big or small — makes its way to the news, continuing with the final trailer that was released this week. One of those news bites a couple months back included director J.J. Abrams promising there was more to tell about Rey’s backstory.
As the fandom is split between those who were satisfied with the answers about Rey from Star Wars: The Last Jedi and those who weren’t, Abrams’ statement set off another round of jousting about Rey’s parents. Were they negligent people who abandoned their daughter, as Kylo Ren said? Or were they characters we already knew? Everyone from Han and Leia to the Emperor himself has been suggested for Rey’s lineage. But using clues from within the films themselves, another option seems likely.
Rey is a clone.
SEARCH YOUR FEELINGS…
Considering Rey is the main character of the new Star Wars trilogy, very little is known about the character. Even to herself, Rey is an enigma. The latest trailer for The Rise of Skywalker hammers home this theme, having Rey state “People keep telling me they know me. No one does.”
Left behind on the desert planet of Jakku at a young age, the films never come right out and say how she survived her childhood. In a vision in The Force Awakens, a young Rey is shown being held by what looks to the arm of Unkar Plutt as whoever she came to the planet with flies away, leaving her behind. Unkar Plutt was also in possession of the Millennium Falcon until Rey and Finn stole it, though that may have been a red herring coincidence. Then, in The Last Jedi, Rey begged the Force Cave on Ahch-To to show her parents to her. Instead, the cave showed her only infinite copies of herself. Add to that Kylo Ren taunting her that her parents were “no one,” it isn’t a huge leap to think Rey herself cannot remember what her parents looked like or where they came from. That she has no memory at all of her life before seemingly bursting, fully-formed, into life on Jakku.
Now it could be the separation from her parents was so traumatizing that Rey suppressed any memory of it in order to survive. But then why would the Force show Rey infinite copies of herself when she asked to see her “parents?” All kinds of metaphors or philosophical reasons could be conjured, but ultimately Star Wars is a space fantasy for kids. Occam’s Razor then is that these Force sites function as paternity tests. The tree on Dagobah showed Luke a vision of Vader because Vader was his dad. The cave showed Rey copies of herself because she literally has no parents.
Rey being a clone would also give Lucasfilm cover for Kylo Ren’s declaration of “You come from nothing. You’re nothing” during his climactic moment with Rey in The Last Jedi. Star Wars loves to hide plot twists as “a different point of view.” If Rey is a clone, she literally comes from nothing. It would also explain “Dark Rey” from the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: it’s simply another Rey.
CLONES ARE EXPENSIVE, YO
Within the Star Wars universe, there is only one species that dabbles in cloning: the Kaminoans. First introduced in Attack of the Clones, the planet of Kamino housed the facility that created the Clone Army for the Galactic Republic. However, the clones were secretly commissioned by Emperor Palpatine and were used to destroy the Jedi. After the prequels, the cloning facilities of Kamino allegedly shut down by Palpatine and faded from galactic memory.
That would be that if not for the reemergence of Palpatine in the trailer for The Rise of Skywalker. For years, fans wondered if Palpatine’s clones would ever appear in a Star Wars film, especially after Disney removed the Expanded Universe from the timeline. Before the hard reset, Palpatine had been an ongoing threat to the galaxy even after the events of Return of the Jedi. Having mastered a form of immortality, the Emperor could merely move his consciousness from one cloned body of himself to the next. Several EU novels and comics dealt with the fallout of Palpatine’s refusal to just stay dead.
Now, that plotline seems to have been resurrected. After all, who has a cloning facility and just…stops…using it? Especially if that person is playing what might be the longest con in history, with contingencies for his contingencies?
Palpatine utilizing clones would also explain several things that still don’t quite make sense. First, if Kylo Ren had been in the presence of variations of Rey, it would account for why he seemed to recognize her in The Force Awakens. It would also add another layer to his consternation at Rey besting him at every turn. Secondly, it would explain why Snoke was so eager to get his hands on Rey. An anomaly. A Force-sensitive clone that had somehow escaped Palpatine’s grasp. One that had grown up in the outside world and who now possessed powers on par with the grandson of Darth Vader.
BUT WHOSE CLONE IS SHE?
So if Rey is a clone, who would be the original source used to create her? The most obvious answer to me would be Anakin Skywalker. After all, the Star Wars films are the story of the Skywalkers. To bring it full circle in the final episode would be poetic in its own way.
Palpatine poured everything he had into creating Darth Vader. Beyond the films, the Star Wars comics have all but confirmed Palpatine managed to remotely impregnate Shmi Skywalker using the Force, thus explaining Anakin’s virgin conception. If Palpatine put that much effort into Vader it seems unlikely he would let something like Luke Skywalker burning Vader’s remains to an unusable crisp stop him. The Emperor had years to collect any kind of DNA sample from Anakin as he wanted. More importantly, Rey being a clone of Anakin would explain why the lightsaber called to her in The Force Awakens: it recognized her.
Of course, there are plenty of other candidates. No one knows what happened to Luke Skywalker’s hand after it was severed by Vader. If the lightsaber survived, there’s no reason to believe the hand didn’t. If the Emperor got a hold of it, there is no way he wouldn’t take it directly to the Kaminoans. The same might be true if the Empire acquired the DNA of Obi-Wan Kenobi or any other Jedi master.
Then there’s the possibility that Palpatine simply recreated the process he used to make Anakin. Instead of using Vader’s DNA, perhaps the Emperor merely made a new protege directly from the Force. Perhaps this time he took no chances and, from the start, made multiples of his creation. If we want to completely put on tinfoil hats, one might even imagine the Knights of Ren have matching faces under those hoods. Faces that look like Rey’s.