‘Star Wars’: Rey’s Story Brings the Skywalker Saga Full Circle in the Most Beautiful Way

The “galaxy far, far away” has always revisited the same themes. Even George Lucas made it a point to build in several parallels between his two trilogies. With the Skywalker saga now complete at last, Star Wars fans are taking a look at all the connections running throughout the nine-part story.

In particular, the story of Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) evolution from Jakku scavenger to Jedi Knight seems like a narrative detour for the series. But how the character’s journey ends in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is actually much more faithful to the saga’s roots than many fans may realize.

Billy Dee Williams, Daisy Ridley, and John Boyega at Star Wars Celebration
Billy Dee Williams, Daisy Ridley, and John Boyega at Star Wars Celebration | Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Disney

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ fell short of expectations

When J.J. Abrams returned to round off the sequel trilogy, Star Wars fans were decidedly mixed. Some felt Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi took the saga down the wrong path, while others were excited by what Johnson brought to the trilogy. In any case, the resulting film — Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — didn’t turn out like most expected it to.

The movie’s goal was to deliver a satisfying end to the Skywalker saga. But the muddled storytelling attempted to placate both sides of The Last Jedi debate. Instead, the movie fell short of box office projections. While it still earned over $1 billion, The Rise of Skywalker is the lowest-grossing entry in the sequel trilogy. Moreover, it earned the worst reviews of the saga.

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Fans latched onto the dynamic between Rey and Kylo Ren

Many fans wanted something different from the sequel trilogy. As the main character, Rey is one of fans’ biggest points of contention. Some consider the hero over-powered, insisting her innate abilities trace back to a major Star Wars lineage. The Rise of Skywalker, of course, reveals her to be the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).

But perhaps more importantly, the movie elaborates on her connection with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). After The Last Jedi, some fans saw a romantic spark between the two. “Reylo” shippers came out for The Rise of Skywalker hoping to see their relationship evolve. And even those not rooting for love couldn’t deny the sequel trilogy’s hero and villain faced intertwined fates.

By the third act, Kylo Ren aka Ben Solo is the only surviving member of the Skywalker bloodline. His family legacy is one of bravery, betrayal, and ultimately, redemption. And as one-half of the Force Dyad he forms with Rey, Ben more than lives up to the grandfather he admires. In fact, Ben’s fate directly ties back to Darth Vader’s in an unmistakable way.

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But their connection built on the original trilogy’s themes

Marvel Comics has been smoothing over some of the rougher edges of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And as Screen Rant pointed out, Star Wars #5 sheds some light on how the Skywalker saga ends. Soon after The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader makes a startling pronouncement about how “Skywalkers die.”

Screen Rant explores how this could be interpreted as a curse of sorts on the saga’s central family line. But more than anything, it draws a parallel between Vader and his grandson. After all, The Rise of Skywalker ultimately boils down to Ben, the only Skywalker left, and Rey, who assumes the Skywalker name in the movie’s divisive final scene.

Just like his ancestors, Ben gives his life in service of keeping balance. And as Vader traded his life for Luke’s (Mark Hamill), Ben’s action is motivated by love. Ben makes the conscious choice to trade his life for hers and achieves redemption. Because of his action, Rey goes on to restore the Skywalker name. She has the opportunity to choose her own family and rebuild both the Skywalker legacy and the Jedi Order.