Who is Rey? Analyzing the Leading Theories

force awakens 05 rey tinkers

None of us know who Rey, the new lead character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is or could be, but that doesn’t stop the Internet from rampant speculation. And while we won’t know for another couple of years if any of these theories is correct, we can look at the most popular theories and determine how likely they are based on what we know. This is pure speculation but if you’ve seen The Force Awakens it’s certainly the main question everyone is asking: Who is Rey? We look at the top four theories and analyze why they could be right or wrong. Spoilers if you haven’t seen The Force Awakens yet.

Theory #1: Rey is Han and Leia’s Daughter

force awakens 32 leia and han

Why it could be so: We learned that Kylo Ren is definitely Han and Leia’s offspring. It could make a narrative sense that Kylo Ren’s sister is the one trying to battle or redeem him. The original trilogy ended up giving us Luke and Leia as brother and sister, so it could echo that with a different relationship. Kylo Ren is powerful in the Force and Rey is, too. In fact, Kylo Ren basically ends up teaching Rey, because she sees him try a technique and tries it herself against him.

What doesn’t work: There would have to be some screenwriting gymnastics to explain why neither Han nor Leia appear to recognize her or mention having a daughter. Kylo Ren is also about 10 years older than Rey, so they aren’t twins like Luke and Leia. When exactly did Ben Solo become Kylo Ren? Why would Han and Leia think it’s safer to abandon their daughter when they have the resources of an army?

Theory #2: Rey is Luke’s Daughter

luke skywalker force awakens

Why it could be so: The movies have long been touted as being the story of the Skywalkers. So if Rey is the main character of the new movie, which she definitely is, could that make her a Skywalker by default? She inherits Luke’s lightsaber, just as Luke originally inherited the same lightsaber that was originally his father’s. Rey’s upbringing mirrors Luke’s to a degree – growing up a lonely life on a desert planet. The movie ends with Rey meeting Luke.

What doesn’t work: Rey and Luke may have grown up on a desert planet but they have very different motivations – Luke is desperate to leave and explore while Rey is insistent on going back in case her family returns. Would Luke hide his daughter without anyone to watch over her? Wouldn’t Han and Leia know Luke had a kid and if so, why wouldn’t they mention it at any point to Rey? Rey was separated from her parents as a child, not a baby, so she would probably recognize her father, yet she gives no indication that she has done so yet. And if Luke is her father, who could possibly be her mother?

Theory #3: Rey is Completely New

rey looks up

Why it could be so: It would certainly help the Star Wars story feel less small, a problem the story sometimes had with its Expanded Universe stories tying just about every background character into the story in some fashion. It would easily explain why none of the previous generation appear to know her and would give the movie free reign to do with Rey whatever they wish, without any continuity issues to worry about.

What doesn’t work: Star Wars has a massive backdrop, but the story follows a few key characters and their relationships with one another. That’s the nature of the epic. To completely sever any ties the lead character could have with the past seems unlikely based on what Star Wars has done so far. Rey’s Force sensitivity certainly makes it seem less likely that she has these abilities without any other family members being Jedi or Sith, based on what we know from the films.

Theory #4: Rey is Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Daughter or Granddaughter

ewan mcgregor as obi wan kenobi

Why it could be so: Visually, Rey’s outfit is very reminiscent of Obi-Wan’s from the prequels. She also has a moment scaling a shaft in Starkiller base not unlike what Obi-Wan did on the Death Star in A New Hope. When she opens the chest at Maz Kanata’s place, she hears Obi-Wan’s voice (admittedly, along with Luke yelling Noooo! and something from Yoda). If she were a Skywalker, shouldn’t she hear Anakin? But she heard Obi-Wan (and they used audio from both Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor). The lightsaber may have been Luke’s and Anakin’s, but Obi-Wan held it for almost 20 years, too. Finally, it would make an interesting narrative if we revealed that the Skywalkers and Kenobi’s have spent generations both training one another and battling one another – parallels to Obi-Wan training Luke and Anakin, as well as battling Anakin and Rey battling Kylo Ren. Obi-Wan’s hermit-like existence on Tattooine has echoes of Rey’s lonely existence on Jakku.

What doesn’t work: It would require a retcon to say that Obi-Wan had either Rey or one of Rey’s parents. There’s certainly a lot of time where we don’t know what Obi-Wan was doing and we assume he was just living as a hermit but perhaps started a family once the Jedi order fell? Why would Rey need to inherit Luke’s old lightsaber instead of the one Obi-Wan lost on the Death Star?

Uh… we’re trying to think of good reasons, but she’s totally Obi-Wan’s descendent. Rey Kenobi.


  • XeQUae

    Rey could work as Luke’s daughter and some of the issues could be explained. Kylo Ren killed a bunch of Jedi trainees, so perhaps Luke believed she died at the hand of Kylo Ren, but instead he couldn’t kill her since she was a child. He took her and dropped her off on Jakku and told her to wait for her parents. Luke heartbroken over her death and his failure with Kylo Ren went into seclusion to become stronger with the force by training at the first Jedi temple. And perhaps Luke’s wife was killed by the Kylo Ren. Han and Leia don’t recognize her because they didn’t see her much when she was young and believed she was dead. She was so young she didn’t remember much of anything about her parents and didn’t even know their name.

  • Chris Piers

    Sure. It’s possible. But that’s also a pretty good amount of exposition to make things work. The big question is what would carry the most emotional resonance? I’d argue that it would not be for Luke to have a kid, but to play a father figure as a way to repay Obi-Wan for doing that for him.

  • I really don’t go for the Obi Wan thing, only because he was an old order Jedi that towed the line with all the rest of them. He even warned Luke not to go to Bespin, because his training was more important than his friends. I can’t see that guy having a family for awhile, but getting the reputation of a hermit. It’s a nice theory, but one that I don’t think works with what the prequels laid out, unless Disney isn’t putting 100% stock into them.

  • Big Jim

    Another theory I have heard: Rey is Ren’s daughter (and Vader’s great-granddaughter). Anakin’s journey to the darkside included a secret/forbidden romance. Maybe Ren was involved with slightly older Padawan (maybe a disciple of Snoke’s who seduced him as part of his seduction to the darkside). She has a kid no one knows about, and abandons her, sells her, or hides her, on Jakku.

    Explains why no one knows her, but why everyone instantly took a liking to her (in their own way). She’s subconsciously familiar to them.

  • No.

  • Chris Piers

    Kylo Ren is at most 10 years older than Rey.

  • Big Jim

    No theory is perfect. I recall the person who put that theory forth claimed Daisy (the character) was supposed to be about 17. If Ren were in his early 30s, it’s possible. Although the actors are, I believe, only about 10 years apart (if that) in age. Besides, how likely is it that Disney would agree to a major plot point involving the sexual seduction of a teenager, even if said teenager was the villain?