“""""This will begin to make things right
While I originally interpreted the opening line of The Force Awakens as a not so subtle dig at George Lucas’s prequels I now believe there is another, far more subtle meaning to the line. And it has everything to do with the character of Rey, and not Luke Skywalker. Well, not exactly.
Why is Rey's linage so important? Well, it establishes her power with the force for one, and may give depth to Kylo Ren’s antagonism towards her. But I believe another reason Rey’s linage is important is because it is the key to connecting the prequels with the original trilogy and restoring the balance between them. Make no mistake, the prequels are bad movies, but I don’t think J.J. Abrahams and Kathleen Kennedy are intent on disregarding everything about them.
We will not meet Rey’s parents. To do so would only move the story backwards and slow it down. So why are they even important? Because they are the source of Rey’s motivation to give into hate and try to kill Kylo Ren. Because, through Rey’s force vision, she knows that Kylo Ren murdered them and was intent on killing her as a child. I would argue that at this point Rey understands much about her background, almost everything in fact, and the reveal in episode VIII won’t be a shock to her, but rather, to the audience.
It has been pointed out that we hear Obi-Wan call out to Rey during this vision. I do believe this is the most obvious hint that Rey is Obi-Wan’s granddaughter. Another is Rey’s connection to Obi-Wan’s possessions. First, I would argue that “Luke’s Lightsaber” was in Obi-Wan’s hands for more time than Luke’s and Anakin’s combined. Secondly, R2D2, who claimed in Episode IV to be Obi-Wan’s droid, comes to life in Rey’s presence.
While the reveal that Rey is related to Obi-Wan will be a nice twist, I don’t believe it will be the bombshell that gets everyone crying “spoiler alert” before talking about it. The big shock will be learning who Rey’s grandmother is.
Rey’s grandmother is someone we know. And it is not so much her identity that is the surprise episode 8 has in store for us, but how she connects the threads of the Skywalker and Kenobi families, the two families central to the Star Wars universe.
Let’s go back to Jedi shall we?
On Endor, as C3PO catches the Ewoks up on everything that’s happened in the galaxy to this point, Luke and Leia talk outside. Luke asks Leia a question.
Luke: “Tell me about your mother…your real mother”
What is amazing to me now in watching this scene is that Leia doesn’t bat an eye to Luke’s odd rephrasing. After all, what does he mean by her “real” mother? Did Leia ever share a story with him of finding out the Organa’s were not her true parents? It goes even further. Luke states that he never knew his mother. But what is important is what he says before that. “I have no memory of her.” Is it possible Luke, with his newfound realizations, now “feels” that his mother was indeed a presence in his life? He does not know her because he has no memory of her, not because she was not there with him as a child. Perhaps watching him from afar, but with him nonetheless.
]Now let’s go back to Revenge of the Sith (sorry, we have to).
Padme gives birth naturally to Luke and Leia, while the Emperor “gives birth” unnaturally to Darth Vader. The Emperor tells Vader that he killed Padme, despite Vader’s assertion that he feels that she is still alive. This knowledge completes Anakin’s journey to the dark side, and ties the Emperor to him. It is the final piece of manipulation by the emperor, and it is a complete lie.
Padme did not die.
Padme goes to her “death” professing that Anakin is still good. She may have acquiesced to faking her death and separating from her children to protect them, but she wasn’t about to do so without some protest. Holding on to Anakin’s necklace during her funeral may have been a small act of protest over what she was about to do. Obi Wan and Yoda had given up on Aanakin, but she had not. The necklace was a symbol of that.
Besides driods whose memories could easily be manipulated (remember C-3POI’s gets erased) only Yoda, Obi-Wan and Bale Organa knew what happened to Padme and the children. At the end of Revenge of the Sith Yoda, Obi Wan, and Organa talk about what to do with the children, but not once do they confirm Padme’s death. The three have just as much reason to fake Padme’s death as they do to hide her children. If Emperor (and later, Vader) knew she was alive she would have been a hunted women. Beside's, the Emperor is the only person to say Padme's dead, and we know he is a liar.
After Padme’s assassination attempt in which her double was killed (the first time her death was faked) the Emperor suggested that Padme be placed under the guard of Obi Wan Kenobi, not Anakin. Now, I know Anakin was a padawan at the time, but can we at least entertain the idea that the Emperor was in fact trying to place Obi Wan with Padme because she might bring about the downfall of an actual Jedi? After all, what could bring more disorder to the Jedi order than the compromising of one of the most trusted, noblest acolytes of the Jedi order? It certainly would have created more chaos than the downfall of a padawan.
Did the Emperor sense that Obi Wan may have had feelings for Padme? You may scoff, but quickly into Attack of the Clones, Obi Wan does something that seems completely out of character but may have actually betrayed his true feelings for her. Obi Wan is constantly stressing patience and thoughtful action when “teaching” Anakin. During a second attempt on Padme’s life, Obi-Wan senses danger as Anakin does, and then, inexplicably, leaps through a window to jump at Padme’s robotic attacker. Did Obi Wan’s deeply hidden and suppressed attraction to Padme get the better of his Jedi-senses? After the attack, when Anakin is with Padme, all he does is trash Obi Wan as the poor girl is trying to pack her bags. Is this a pathetic, adolescent attempt at cock-blocking a potential rival for Padme’s affections? Is the source of Anakin’s discontent with Obi-Wan manifested when Padme comes into the picture because he, like the Emperor, sensed the feelings Obi-Wan had for Padme?
“Hide your feelings” Obi-Wan tells Luke in Return of the Jedi, “they do you credit, but they may also be used to serve the Emperor.”
OK, so let’s speed on back to The Force Awakens and the supposed grammatical error in the title crawl. I’m going to spare you the grammar lesson but the sentence about Leia looking for her brother Luke implies that she has another brother. I believe that when Leia met her “real” mother she may have also met her half-brother, the son of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and may have told Luke about him as well. So where would Luke start in his rebuilding of the Jedi Order, why, with the son of his former master of course!
If Padme’s death was faked I believe she went with Obi-Wan to Tatoonie to be near at least one of her children. Over time the stress of separation from her daughter may have been too much and she left Tatoonie to be with Leia. So how did Padme really die? I don’t know, people get sick. Or perhaps the Organas told her to move along, knowing full well how her presence could endanger Leia. Did she have to fake her death again, and take Leia’s half-brother to a far off planet people would need a secret map to find? I’m not going to fill in all the details, and I don’t think the new films would need to either. That’s why I think including Padme in Rey’s linage would serve the story well and help it move forward rather than backwards. We know the people concerned would be able to fill in the gaps with only a few choice lines of dialogue or a quick flashback.
Seven reasons why I think this revelation about Rey will "make things right" with Star Wars
For the sake of brevity (which this piece desperately needs), the following are reasons why I think Padme as Rey's grandmother will make the overall story stronger.
1. It connects Rey to the Skywalker family.
As so many who claim Rey is Luke or Leia’s daughter state, the story of Star Wars is the story of the Skywalker family. But we are not living in the time of the original trilogy anymore, and the concept of family today is a far more fluid thing. I think in so many ways Abraham’s has successfully made it a movie of the new century, not the last. So to include Rey into the Skywalker family not through the paternal side, as so many of us expect, but rather through the maternal side would be a nice twist.
2. It provides even more depth to Obi-Wan and Anakin’s duels, especially the one in Star Wars.
Rewatching Episode IV’s duel is so much more interesting after you have found out the truth about Vader’s relationship to Luke and Obi-Wan’s role in mentoring both. If we find out that Obi-Wan had indeed loved Padme, and whether knowingly or not fathered a child with her, the final confrontation between them would be even more personal.
3. Yoda’s “No, there is another" quote in Empire.
It’s often been assumed that Yoda was referring to Leia, but yet Luke never trains her. Perhaps Leia was not the one Yoda was speaking of after all, but rather Obi-Wan’s child. Once Luke learned the truth I believe he searched out his half-brother when he began to rebuild the Jedi order. Maybe Padme is dead by this point, or maybe Luke does get to meet her and tell her of Anakin’s redemption.
4. Luke’s feelings of responsibility for the destruction of his new Jedi order.
Yes, having your nephew butcher all of your students may well make you want to hide on some unknown planet, but I think there is more to this. Luke, knowing the history of his parents, and of his master Obi-Wan’s relationship, may have condoned a relationship between two Jedi in defiance of Jedi tradition. This act of compassion, of understanding of the humanity, the “crude matter”, of the Jedi sows the seeds of Kylo Ren’s eventual rejection of the order and his embrace of the strength represented by Snoke.
5. Kylo Ren’s fall to the dark side.
It is implied that Luke did not train Kylo directly, so how much guilt would he have for failing to do so properly? I’ll posit that Luke’s guilt was tied to unforeseen consequences of a decision to allow two Jedi, one his half-brother, to have a child and yet stay within the Jedi order. In Kylo Ren’s eyes, this was a heresy, and a sign of weakness. It began Ren’s trajectory towards the dark side. The dark side is uncompromising, and “deals in absolutes” as Obi-Wan put it in Sith. Kylo Ren wants to finish his grandfather’s work of bringing order to the galaxy. And lets be clear, Kylo Ren worships at the altar of Darth Vader, and not Anakin Skywalker. If Ren somehow knew the truth of Ren’s relationship to his family, through the woman who swayed his powerful grandfather, it could add to any animosity he holds for her. Whatever Kylo Ren knows about Rey, his relationship with and feelings for her are obviously complicated.
6. It fixes the stupid prophecy idea.
I hate prophesies in stories. Its usually a cheap gimmick for character motivation. This whole idea of bringing balance to the force by destroying the dark side always bugged me. After all, wouldn’t a universe of dark and light be balance? I would argue that the Jedi misinterpreted the prophecy (it can happen) and rather Anakin brought disorder to the force because his birth was an unnatural act. I believe that the new films will stick with established canon (as terrible as it sounded the first time we heard it) that Anakin was immaculately conceived. But it is heavily implied that Anakin may have been created by a Sith Lord named Darth Plagus, who may or may not be Snoke. The only thing human, or natural, about Anakin came from his human mother Shimi. This humanity saved Anakin in the end when faced with the murder of his son, and Padme’s humanity perhaps enabled Luke and Leia to greater resist the dark side of the force. Ren, as Solo said, has “too much Vader in him”. So what needs to be done to bring about balance, a restoration of a natural order? The death of Anakin, and perhaps of the Skywalker line. Obi Wan almost did so. And, through Rey, his work may yet be finished.
7. The "dark" side of the Skywalker family
If Snoke is Anakin’s father does Luke understand that the Force that runs so strongly through his family come from the Dark Side? Is this why he did not train Leia and Kylo Ren? Did Luke vanish because, as strong as he is, he knows his use of the force can only bring about harm? All that was good in Luke (and his father) came from the maternal, human side. This situation is flipped somewhat in Kylo Ren’s case, but may help explain his animosity towards his father Han Solo. After all, he doesn’t seem to have anything bad to say about his mother (yet), and refers to his father as weak and foolish. In order to commit fully to the dark side Ren needed to destroy the humanity in him by killing his father.
Thank you to anyone who read this whole thing. Stay tuned for the video version on Youtube, if I ever get around to it!