At long last, we reach the conclusion of our series and leave you with our final thoughts on what we’ve put together and why. While the main series is over, check back in as we’ll be supplementing it with new articles as more information becomes available or as we gain new insights. We hope you enjoyed our series and found it insightful even if you disagree!
In putting together this series of articles, our goal was to propose the most believable, satisfying, and resonant possible conclusion to the Skywalker Saga, one that united themes of all three trilogies and made the entire series feel like one cohesive story. We believe that making Rey the daughter of Luke Skywalker is the single most effective way to achieve this goal. Having Rey embody the Light side of her family, as a counter to her cousin’s darkness, makes the central struggle of the Sequel Trilogy an extension of the conflict that’s united the previous six films: the battle over the legacy of the saga’s first protagonist, Anakin Skywalker.
Within this overarching conflict can exist other themes too, many of which people believed could only be the case if Rey were unrelated–namely, Rey needing to define herself as a hero without the knowledge that her family is significant. In fact, by not knowing the weight of the legacy she is carrying, Rey proves even more solidly that the true nature of the Skywalker lineage is one of goodness, since she embodies it naturally without knowing she has a duty to do so. Rey is a hero because Rey is good, kind, and brave; not because she’s the daughter of a legend. By proving this to herself first, the revelation of her parentage becomes something akin to the monomythic “elixir,” a sacred prize that nonetheless carries with it its own power, risk, and conflict; not simply a way to fill a void in her self-esteem. A message of “you define yourself, no matter where you came from,” on its own, risks coming across as trite and shallow, but when combined with the gravity of an imperiled family legacy, it resonates deeply both for Rey and for the saga as a whole.
Rey being a Skywalker also achieves another crucial goal of the Skywalker Saga, creating a satisfying resolution for the story of its original hero, Luke Skywalker. Luke’s story in the Original Trilogy was rooted deeply in themes of familial love and conflict, and specifically in the relationship between a father and a child. Becoming a Jedi was Luke’s duty, a role that gave him meaning and direction, but this journey was first spurred by a desire to connect with his father and carry on his positive legacy. When Vader reveals himself to be Luke’s father, instead of carrying on that legacy in his absence, Luke becomes responsible for salvaging it in his presence. Luke’s journey begins and ends with the powerful connection between a father and child. So rather than give him a completely new central arc in the continuing story, Rey being Luke’s daughter simply adds a new dimension to the themes and conflicts that have defined Luke’s character thus far. “You must confront Vader,” says Yoda in Return of the Jedi. “Only then, a Jedi will you be.” What better way to add weight and meaning to this line than to make Luke’s true confrontation of Vader much more than simply a lightsaber duel? To truly confront all that Vader means to him, Luke must also confront his failure as a father, his absence, his abdication of his duty to protect his children. By making Luke a father–a father who failed in many of the ways his father did, even through no fault of his own–we force him to confront Vader on a deeper, more thematic level. Only then, a Jedi will he be.
By making Rey a Skywalker, we weave the storylines of all three Jedi protagonists together into one satisfying conclusion. Anakin’s story can conclude with the declaration that the goodness in him outshone the evil after all, and that his legacy won’t be that of a warlord, but of a Jedi Knight. Luke’s story can conclude with the discovery that he can grapple with the failings of his father, find a way to understand and forgive them, and move forward to become the parent Rey needs him to be; flaws, failures, and all. And Rey, at the end of it all, will learn that her family does not define her, she defines her family. The three endings work synergistically, ending the saga on a resonant, uplifting message of healing, forgiveness, and the power of familial love.
So what happens if we’re wrong? Well, like any other disappointed fans, we’ll go home from the theater, feel glum for a day or two, and move on. But whatever choice Lucasfilm ends up making for the conclusion of the saga, we feel confident that a Rey Skywalker storyline is still the best option that was available to them, and will stand by that. We do believe, however, based on the themes, narratives, symbols, and creator commentary surrounding Rey and Luke, that this is the way Episode IX will shake out. No other explanation hits as many central thematic beats, concludes as many narrative arcs, or leaves the same feeling of completeness that Rey Skywalker lends to the saga. If Lucasfilm has planned this trilogy out to the extent we believe they actually have (in spite of Rian’s fudging of the truth here and there), this conclusion is, in our opinions, the only way to go.
Rey has gone to the ends of the galaxy to try and save the Skywalker family. But if she is a Skywalker herself, then as Anakin told Luke so long ago, she already has.
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