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The Force Awakens introduced us to a powerful new Force-sensitive character: Daisy Ridley's Rey. A mysterious and enigmatic figure, we first met Rey as a citizen of the junkyard world of Jakku, where she waited patiently for her parents. The film set up so many intriguing questions, not least the matter of just who Rey's parents actually are.
Back in October 2016, Ridley confirmed that The Last Jedi will solve that particular mystery. Now, in an interview with GQ, Adam Driver — who plays Rey's nemesis Kylo Ren — may have just dropped a major clue.
What did Adam Driver say?
Driver begins by discussing the layered approach Lucasfilm is taking to the sequel trilogy characters. He explains that his villain, Kylo Ren, is essentially "a vulnerable kid who doesn't know where to put his energy." When Kylo Ren dons his mask, it allows him to slip into a role, to become the dark side being we witnessed in The Force Awakens' opening scenes on Jakku. Intriguingly, trailers for The Last Jedi have shown Kylo Ren piloting his vessel against the Resistance without wearing that mask, so the conflict of identity clearly isn't over.
But, as Driver continues, the same concept applies to Rey.
"You have, also, the hidden identity of this princess who's hiding who she really is so she can survive and Kylo Ren and her hiding behind these artifices."
As GQ notes, this seems to drop "a massive revelation about Rey's royal origins."
What does this mean?
One of the most popular fan theories is that Rey is actually Kylo Ren's sister, daughter of Han and Leia. This would make the would-be Jedi a Princess of Alderaan, like her mother before her. Many fans are taking Driver's words as confirmation that this is indeed the case.
Although Disney wiped the old Expanded Universe canon out of continuity shortly after they purchased Lucasfilm, many ideas have seemed to be lifted from those novels. In those books, Han and Leia had two twins, Jacen and Jaina. Jacen ultimately fell to the dark side, while Jaina became "the sword of the Jedi." Fans have long suggested that Kylo Ren is loosely based on Jacen, and that Rey will likely be inspired by Jaina. Supporting this theory, you have a surprisingly close bond between Han and Rey in The Force Awakens that develops at considerable speed. Even Leia seems to sense that Rey is important to the family, instinctively comforting the young woman after Han's death.
Against this theory though, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has insisted that Rey's parents aren't important to the overarching Star Wars saga. Back in August, he explained:
"[Her parentage is] important insofar as it's important to her. And I think it's important to her in terms of what is her place in all of this? What’s going to define her in this story? She was told in the last movie that the answer’s not in the past; it's looking forward. But she's showing up on this island to talk to this hero from the past."
Star Wars has, by nature, always been somewhat dynastic. The main overarching narrative has centered on the Skywalker family. If Rey is part of that family, it's big news. This would redefine the sequel trilogy as the continuing narrative of the Skywalker clan. Countering this idea, Johnson explains that the mystery of Rey's parentage only really matters to Rey, and is only important to the narrative only "insofar as it's important to her."
What's more, it's worth noting that we haven't seen any hint in the canon tie-in novels that Leia had another child. There was no such clue in Chuck Wendig's Aftermath: Empire's End, which saw Leia using the Force to calm the baby Ben Solo while he was still in her womb. Claudia Gray's Leia-centric novel Bloodline was essentially a character study on Carrie Fisher's beloved character set between the two trilogies, and again there was nothing to suggest she'd had another child.
One thing to note is that Johnson shifted gears naturally from Rey's desire to learn her parents identities, to her encounter with Luke. Whatever the secret behind Rey's parentage may be, it's clear Luke will be the one to reveal the truth.
Could Rey be tied to another royal family?
It's worth noting that Alderaan isn't the only Star Wars planet to have a monarchy. The prequel trilogy, for instance, revealed that Padme Amidala was originally Queen of Naboo. Ergo, Rey could easily be tied to another royal family. What's more, Luke Skywalker traveled the galaxy in the time between the trilogies, and could have stumbled on more Force-sensitive people and Jedi candidates on pretty much any world.
Take, for example, the austere planet of Gatalenta. This world had a strong Jedi tradition, one that the Empire tried (and failed) to quash. It's ruled by the Council of Mothers, and it's not difficult to imagine a monarchy presiding over the Council. The Last Jedi will feature Laura Dern as Vice-Admiral Amilyn Holdo, a Resistance leader who represented Gatalenta in the Imperial Senate and actually trained with Leia in the Imperial Apprentice Legislature two years before the events of A New Hope. Significantly, Bloodline dropped a reference to Luke visiting Gatalenta while on his quest to rebuild the Jedi Order. So there are already clear links between Gatalenta and key arcs in The Last Jedi.
And this is just one example. As much as fans may like the idea of Rey being a member of the Skywalker-Solo clan, Driver's comment still leaves us with countless possible options.
But is this quote really so important?
And yet, we should be very wary of assuming Driver's quote is quite so important. It's worth remembering that this was an official interview, overseen by Lucasfilm, and they're unlikely to have allowed the magazine to report on what seems to be such a major spoiler.
It's quite possible that Driver is referring to Rey as an archetypal figure, a "diamond in the rough." This is a classic trope in which someone is more than they seem at first glance. So a frog is actually a prince, a farmboy is the galaxy's last hope, and a desert scavenger is a powerful Force-sensitive. In this context, Driver's point isn't to stress that Rey is a princess — he instead meant to suggest that Kylo Ren and Rey are very similar characters, confused over issues of identity. The latest trailer for The Last Jedi stressed a similar point, teasing that the two will ultimately form an uneasy alliance of some kind.
Does Adam Driver's quote really mean that Rey is Kylo Ren's sister? It's possible, but it seems unlikely. Johnson has stressed that the mystery of Rey's parentage is only important to the extent it matters to the character herself, rather than being significant to the whole #StarWars saga. Instead, it seems far more likely that Driver was focused on the similarities between these two characters.