The Story fo Rey Skywalker
Originally known as simply ‘Rey,’ this young scavenger eventually became a Jedi Master, taking on the family name of her mentor and master, Luke Skywalker. Rey fought on the side of the Resistance in the war against the First Order, in the last days of the New Republic Era, showing herself to be not only brave and intelligent, but a very skilled warrior too.
She was born on the planet Jakku, in 15 ABY, during the rise of the New Republic, to a Strand-Cast clone of Darth Sidious (the Sith Lord who ruled the Galactic Empire as Emperor Palpatine) and her mother, a human of no known note. Rey’s mother and father tried to hide Rey, living as junk traders and scavengers, avoiding the conflicts of the great political machinations of the day, and keeping away from the followers of Sidious, who might want to catch Rey and use her to further the power of the Dark Side. At some point, her parents left, or died, and she was left alone and seemingly without any safety or defence. Rey, though, had inherited Sidious’s connection to the Force.
Her life on Jakku, where her days were filled with scavenging for parts in exchange for an ever-dwindling payback, allowed her to become a skilled mechanic, fighter, and to gain some experience to build her natural piloting skill.
This life was disrupted around 34 ABY, by the appearance of a droid (BB-8), and her decision to help it avoid capture and destruction. This effort led her to seek out an explanation to the strange Force that had begun to show itself at work in her life. That quest led her to Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and to her training as a Jedi. Rey gained some friends along the way, including Finn, a Stormtrooper who had deserted the Empire, and the famous duo of Han Solo and Chewbacca. She also met Han Solo’s son, Ben, and began to struggle with that complicated relationship.
Rey’s conflict with Ben Solo (also known as Kylo Ren) resulted in her feeling a pull toward the Dark Side of the force. The two of them formed a dyad in the Force, closely connected despite being on opposite sides of the Force, and always pulled toward one another in a mixture of conflict and the desire to cooperate.
She was loyal to the Light Side of the Force, and convinced Luke Skywalker to train her in the ways of the Jedi, despite his having decided to end the Jedi legacy. When it came down to it, Luke sacrificed himself for the budding resistance, in a parallel to what Ben Kenobi had done for him many years before, and Rey assumed Luke’s mantle as the last Jedi. She became the apprentice of Luke’s sister, General (Princess) Leia Organa.
In 35 ABY, Darth Sidious came into play again. Rey began a quest to find the dark world of Exegol, to prevent the Sith from being reborn. During this quest, and with Kylo Ren’s help, she finds out that she is in fact the granddaughter of the Dark Lord. She confronts Sidious and is nearly lost to the Dark Side of the Force until she is saved by Kylo Ren, who denounces his Dark alter ego and returns to the Light. The spirits of the Jedi battle alongside Rey, who succeeds in defeating her grandfather but dies in the effort. Kylo Ren, now known as Ben Solo again, makes the ultimate sacrifice to bring her back to life. They embrace, kiss, and Solo fades away into the Force leaving her arms empty again.
Though she was not in Luke’s bloodline, Rey took on his name in honour of her master, and as a way of officially rejecting her heritage as a Palpatine.
Rey Skywalker in Star Wars Films
The Force Awakens (2015)
We first see Rey living as an orphan on the planet Jakku, combing the wrecks in the desert for scraps to sell. She rescues BB-8 and Finn (John Boyega) from First Order troops, stealing the Millennium Falcon in the process. They flee Jakku only to be snared by a tractor beam and hauled aboard a freighter.
The freighter is owned by Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Impressed with Rey’s skill and daring, Han offers her a job, but she declines it, feeling she needs to return to Jakku. During a stopover on the planet Tokodana, where they hope to return BB-8 to the Resistance, they meet Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o). Rey is drawn to the basement, where Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) lightsabre is stored in an old chest (the same sabre that once belonged to his father). When she touches it, she sees a vision of a battle led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) during which she is left behind on Jakku as a young child. She also sees a vision of Luke on the island where he has been hiding for years. Maz is there when the vision ends, and tells Rey that those who left her will never return to Jakku; her only way forward is to leave that hope behind and seek out Luke and the Way of the Force. Rey feels overwhelmed and leaves the lightsabre, fleeing instead into the forest.
The First Order has been alerted to their presence on Tokodana, and a battle ensues. Kylo Ren captures Rey just before the resistance arrives and takes her to Starkiller Base. There he probes her mind using the Force, hoping to learn of Luke’s location – information BB-8 has in his memory banks. Instead, he learns that she sees Han (Ren’s father) as a kind of potential father to her. Ren is shocked though, when Rey is suddenly able to resist him, and even to turn the table on him. She learns that he fears he will be a failure, that he will never be as powerful as his grandfather, Darth Vader.
Ren reports to Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), telling him about Rey’s ability to resist him. Snoke commands that she be brought before him.
While Ren is gone, Rey uses a Jedi mind trick on a guard and is able to escape. She finds Finn, Han and Chewbacca in the base, looking for her. During their attempt to escape, and to destroy the base in the process, they witness Kylo Ren facing his father, Han, and murdering him in cold blood.
After killing his father, Han, Ren challenges Rey and Finn in the woods around the base, attacking them with his lightsabre. Finn has Luke’s lightsabre. Ren injures Finn and disarms him. Rey uses the Force to arm herself with the lightsabre and fights Ren. Ren dominates the fight, at first, and offers to train Rey in the Way of the Force – on the Dark Side of course. She refuses. She draws on the power of the Force and uses the lightsabre to wound Ren’s face. She and Finn then flee in the Falcon, piloted by Chewbacca, and they escape, returning to the Resistance base.
The Resistance celebrates the destruction of Starkiller Base and the small victory of the Resistance, but Rey mourns Han’s death. She is joined in her sorrow by Luke’s sister, General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), who is Ren’s mother, and now Han’s widow.
Rey goes to the bedside of Finn, who is still unconscious from his wounds, and decides to seek out Luke after all. Using the combined data from BB-8 and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), the likely location of Luke is finally determined. Rey, Chewbacca and R2 take the Falcon to seek Luke on the planet of Ahch-To. They find him there and Rey presents him with his heirloom lightsabre, symbolically offering herself up to his training and help, an act that parallels Leia’s long-ago plea to Obi-Wan Kenobi, another Jedi living as a hermit, and also seen as the only hope for victory.
The Last Jedi (2017)
Continuing from the last moments of the previous film, this one shows Rey offering the lightsabre to Luke, and in so doing, asking for his training and help. He casts it aside. Her perseverance pays off though, and he eventually agrees to show her the Ways of the Force. He sees in her great innate power, and even some connection with the Dark Side, a temptation that is part of her heritage as a descendent of Emperor Palpatine. This conflict and tension reminds him of Ben Solo (later Kylo Ren), and Luke’s failure at properly training him, or with dealing once and for all with his padawan’s inner tension and struggles.
Unknown to Luke, Rey also feels a change in her relationship with the Force. She connects through it with Kylo Ren himself, and the two of them are intrigued by what is happening to them, neither one fully understanding the meaning of purpose of this strange connection. Ren shares with her that Luke tried to murder him (or at least considered it and came close to trying) when Luke was his Master. Luke later substantiates this accusation with his own admission that he was tempted to do so, conflicted with what he saw in Ren and not sure how best to halt the advancement of the Dark side in his padawan. During one of their shared visions, Rey and Ren touch hands. Rey senses conflict in Ren and decides she can turn him back from the Dark Side, returning him to the Light Side of the Force.
Rey is ready to go back to re-join the Resistance, and asks Luke to join her – but he refuses. He will remain a hermit. Rey, R2 and Chewbacca go without him. Rey, her main goal to return Ren to the Light Side, boards the Mega-Class Star Dreadnaught Supremacy to meet Ren and turn him. Ren captures her there and brings her to stand before Snoke. The Supreme Leader tells her that it was he who created the connection between her and Ren, that it was all a way to find and destroy Luke, the last Jedi Master. He shows her the destruction of Resistance transport ships, mocking and torturing her with his words and these visions. At last, he orders Ren to kill her.
This proves a step too far for Ren, and instead of killing Rey, he turns on Snoke and slays him. Ren and Rey then fight Snoke’s guards, their combined power enough to win the day. Ren proposes to Rey that they create a new Order, rejecting both the legacies of Snoke and Luke. Rey refuses. Frustrated by this, Ren tries to turn her by making her admit that her parents abandoned her, that he is her only true connection. The confrontation explodes into a fight which results in the destruction of Luke’s lightsabre. Before Ren can kill her, Resistance leader Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) rams into Snoke’s ship with her MC85 Star Cruiser, separating the two combatants with the impact. Rey finds an escape ship and flees.
We later find out that Rey returned to the Falcon, joining the battle against the First Order’s troops in the Battle of Crait. They lose that battle, however, and Rey assists in evacuating the remaining Resistance forces. She uses the Force to open a dead end and they flee aboard the Falcon. She re-joins Finn and Leia, and finally meets Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), one of the pilots who was instrumental in saving her on Tokodana, and BB-8’s owner. She feels the moment when Luke is absorbed into the Force, as Obi-Wan had done, and his death is a great pain to Leia, though Rey understands that he ended his life with ‘peace and purpose.’
Rey, the broken pieces of Luke’s lightsabre in her hands, asks Leia how they can rebuild the Resistance. Leia indicates that it is through the leadership of Rey herself that it can be done. This is true, though Leia doesn’t realise that Rey stole the sacred Jedi Texts from the tree cave before it was burned by the Force Spirit of Yoda (Frank Oz).
The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
The final film of this trilogy centres on Rey, one year after the final events of the last film. Leia has been training her in the Ways of the Force, Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) has been resurrected in the Sith world Exegol, and the Sith Eternal’s armada is nearing completion. This armada consists of Xyston-class Star Destroyers and is called the Final Order.
Rey learns from Luke’s notes that a Sith wayfinder is the key to finding a way into Exegol. She, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca, BB-8 and C-3PO all leave for Pasaana to find a hidden clue to the location of a wayfinder. The clue is a dagger with Sith inscriptions on it and Rey finds it with the help of Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Willians).
All the while, Rey and Ren communicate through their unique connection in the Force. Ren is able to locate them and attacks. Rey is distracted by a confrontation with Ren and Chewbacca is captured and held on a First Order transport. Rey tries to save him, but accidentally unleashes Force Lightning on the transport – she thinks she has killed Chewbacca and is guilt-ridden. In the throes of her grief, she shares with Finn that she has been having visions of herself on a Sith throne with Ren.
The remaining companions then go to Kijimi to enlist the help of programmer Babu Frik in locating the wayfinder. From C-3PO’s memory files, Frik determines that their destination is the moon Kef Bir. Ren and his First Order troops follow them to Kijimi. Through the Force, Rey realises that Chewbacca is alive and they are determined to rescue him. Rey gets the dagger from Ren’s Star Destroyer Steadfast and sees visons of her parents being killed by the blade. Ren reveals to her that she is Emperor Palpatine’s granddaughter and that her parents tried to hide her on Jakku. Palpatine found and killed her parents but did not find her. Ren tells her also that, since they are both grandchildren of Sith Lords, they form a dyad in the Force and that is where their connection comes from. They continue to try to turn one another to the same side of the Force in order to join forces, but neither prevails. Rey escapes aboard the Falcon with her friends, setting off toward Kef Bir.
They make it to Kef Bir and Rey secures the wayfinder from the ruins of the second Death Star. When she touches the wayfinder though, she has visions of herself as a Sith. Ren then catches up with them and he destroys the wayfinder. Ren and Rey dual once again. At the same time, Leia is dying and reaches out to Ren using the Force. He is distracted by this, and Rey impales him. Rey then senses Leia’s death and regrets her actions. She heals him using the Force, confessing that she did want to join him, but as Ben Solo… then she escapes.
Troubled by the new knowledge of her lineage, Rey returns to Ahch-To. There she meets Luke’s Force Spirit and he encourages her to confront Palpatine. He gives her Leia’s lightsabre and his old X-wing fighter ship (T-65B). With these tools, and the wayfinder, Rey heads for Exegol. In the meantime, Kylo Ren returns to his former identity of Ben Solo.
Rey sends her coordinates to Resistance forces so they can attack the Sith fleet. She faces Emperor Palpatine, her grandfather and current Sith Lord. He presses her to kill him in anger, to seal her place as Empress Palpatine through that dark deed. He is powerful, and therefore persuasive, but Ben arrives and encourages her to resist. Enraged, Emperor Palpatine absorbs their energy to bring himself to full strength again. He incapacitates Ben and sends Force Lightning against the Resistance fleet. Rey, almost incapacitated as well, draws power from the voices of past Jedi. Her strength returns. Realising this, Emperor Palpatine attacks her with Force Lightning, but she deflects it with Luke and Leia’s lightsabres. Both she and the emperor die in the ensuing explosion of power.
Seeing her death, Ben uses the Force to bring her back to life, paying with his own life to do so in an act of ultimate sacrifice. Rey kisses him as he vanishes into the Force. Rey returns to the Resistance Base where she meets up with her friends again. There is a bitter-sweet celebration of their victory against the forces of the Dark Side.
Later, Rey returns to Luke’s childhood home on Tatooine and buries his lightsabre and Leia’s, together, there in the sand. She now has her own lightsabre, which she has made herself – a golden-coloured blade. When someone passing by asks her her name, she sees the Force Spirits of Luke and Leia and responds, for the first time, with ‘Rey Skywalker.’