Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker might already be available on Blu-ray and digital. But this accessibility to director J.J. Abrams’ film only has fans even more eager to break down every detail. After all, the final installment of the Skywalker saga has arguably divided fans just as much as The Last Jedi.
Abrams was faced with an impossible task in trying to cohesively conclude the story told by not only the previous two parts of the sequel trilogy but the six films that preceded them. Most fans point out the lack of planning for the sequel trilogy’s collapse. But at least one contentious twist might have actually been planned all along.
Fans were let down by Rey’s story in ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’
In Abrams’ own The Force Awakens, audiences met — and mostly fell in love with — Daisy Ridley’s Rey. While some fans took issue with the character, she has proven to be a worthy successor to past Star Wars heroes. And Ridley’s consistently strong performance has endeared fans to the actress and her instantly iconic character alike.
The biggest issue plaguing Rey throughout the sequel trilogy is ultimately what left so many fans disappointed by the end of The Rise of Skywalker. The Force Awakens introduced a mystery surrounding Rey’s origin. And though The Last Jedi attempted to answer it, the decision to make Rey’s parents “nobody” didn’t sit well with some fans.
The Rise of Skywalker, in the eyes of many fans, retcons what its predecessor established. Suddenly, Rey is a descendant of none other than Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), a character previously absent from the trilogy. The revelation seemingly contradicts her independence from Star Wars‘ legacy narrative, a position furthered complicated by the final scene.
New evidence claims Rey may have always ended up as a Skywalker
Throughout much of the sequel trilogy, the films appear to be evolving away from the Skywalker line. Plot elements and characters introduced in The Force Awakens were swept away — or bisected, as with Snoke (Andy Serkis) — by The Last Jedi. And rather than continue this path, The Rise of Skywalker circles right back to it with Rey taking on the Skywalker name.
Star Wars has a habit of revealing its titles’ true meanings by the end of each film. Still, fans found the final moments to be more frustrating than anything else. Instead of expanding the saga beyond the Skywalkers, we’re right back where we started. Some fans claimed this was a red flag The Rise of Skywalker didn’t adhere to a plan. Yet, this doesn’t seem like the case.
In fact, according to reports, the new The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker book details a 2014 story meeting that hints at the introduction of Rey Skywalker. In the book, Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm Story Group introduces the concept of Skywalker as more than just a surname.
“I like the idea that she’s going to be our Skywalker, but she’s not a Skywalker,” Hidalgo said, according to the book. “Then, for our purposes, ‘the Skywalker’ is really a metaphor. It doesn’t have to be something that’s directly connected to blood.”
‘Star Wars’ fans might have seen the very last of ‘Rey Skywalker’ anyway
Truly, using Skywalker as short-hand for a new type of Force-sensitive hero is an idea some fans bandied about. By that token then, The Rise of Skywalker just literalizes it. Rey’s yellow lightsaber still indicates she marks the beginning of a new era for Star Wars. And her adoption of the Skywalker name implies she’ll carry on the best of the saga’s central family.
But any progress made by this point might be moot. After all, Ridley doesn’t appear to be eager to return to playing Rey anytime soon. And if there’s one thing Star Wars needs, it’s a break from Skywalkers, even adopted ones. Fans will likely learn more about what happens to Rey in the novels and comics.
But now that Rey Skywalker has risen, don’t expect to see her in action anytime soon.