*Post contains spoilers from Star Wars: The Force Awakens*
Star Wars: The Force Awakens answered many questions, including identifying Kylo Ren as Ben Solo, the child of Han and Leia that fell to the Dark Side. However, the film still left a few mysteries. Arguably, the biggest discussion revolves around Rey’s identity. From perusing the internet, there seems to be four major theories about who Rey is. They are, in short: Luke’s daughter, Leia & Han’s daughter/Kylo Ren’s younger sister, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s granddaughter, and someone not related to the Skywalker family.
Why The Most Popular Theories Don’t Work
The first one, a child of Luke, seems to be the most obvious or the one most people are leaning towards at the moment; however, I think that choice is way too obvious. If Abrams and Kennedy want there to be an, “I am your father,” moment, they’re doing a very bad job of hiding the Luke-Rey connection. They also haven’t introduced anyone that could potentially be Rey’s mother, and, despite the millions of voices crying out for her, it seems highly unlikely Mara Jade or a Mara Jade-like character will make an appearance. Yes, we didn’t know anything about Luke’s mother until the Prequels, but we also knew nothing about Luke’s father either other than he was a Jedi Knight murdered by Darth Vader. Of course that was misdirection. The familial connection twist was a great shock. Rey revealed as Luke’s daughter wouldn’t be. Barring any last minute casting announcements, it also doesn’t seem like we’re getting another major female character to potentially play the part of Luke’s wife/partner. It would be very sloppy story-telling for Luke to conceive a daughter with an unknown character then either kill that character off or never show her on screen. I think it’s safe to assume Lucasfilm won’t go all Game of Thrones on us with a potential Luke-Leia pairing. Eww!
Likewise, I don’t buy the Obi-Wan Kenobi theory for similar reasons. That theory involves introducing a woman Obi-Wan had a child with followed by that child meeting someone with whom they then made Rey. It would have the shock value, but, a whispered line of dialogue from Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor aside, there’s too much distance, both thematically and chronologically from Obi-Wan in the story for there to be a real emotional connection. Rey being Obi-Wan’s descendant would be neat, but, I hate to say this, who cares? Star Wars is a story about the Skywalker family not Obi-Wan. It doesn’t really advance the story in any meaningful way if she is Obi-Wan’s granddaughter. Yoda has a line in her vision as well, but I don’t think anyone is seriously thinking Rey is Yoda’s descendant. The lines from the dead Jedi masters are to show Rey is having her awakening as a Jedi. I wouldn’t read anything more into that. Yoda and Maz Kanata on the other hand…for another time for another post.
Han and Leia having a daughter after Ben seems the most practical, as well as unsurprising, but, after watching The Force Awakens a few times, it becomes clear that neither Han nor Leia know who Rey is. Plus, it would be very callous for them to abandon their only daughter on a backwater planet in the hands of a hostile junk dealer even if it was for her own safety. That doesn’t sound like Han or Leia.
Rey being a completely random, unrelated character to the Skywalker lineage would certainly be a very bold choice on the part of Lucasfilm. It would certainly shock people, but in a really, really, really disappointing way. There are simply too many links connecting Rey to Luke for her to be anything other than having Skywalker blood in some way. There really is only one practical option I can see: Rey is Luke Skywalker’s clone.
Cloning Still Exists in Star Wars
Before I get into explaining why I think this theory is plausible, I want to establish that this is NOT my theory. I did not come up with it, but I’m trying to build a case for all of the fans and commentators out there, who believe, as I’m inclined to at the moment, Rey is Luke’s clone. If there is going to be a, “no, Rey, Luke is not your father. You are his clone,” moment, there doesn’t need to be much indicating it from The Force Awakens. However, I believe subtle clues, both inside and outside of the film, lead to the idea that Rey could be Luke’s clone. For starters, it would certainly have the shock value. I don’t think many people would immediately jump to Rey being a clone. Most people, intentionally I believe on the part of JJ Abrams, are inclined to think Rey is Luke or Leia’s child. Making Rey a female would certainly throw enough people off the clone trail. It’s clever misdirection. Oh, and before someone makes a stink about gender-swapping a clone, this sort of thing isn’t new. Does anyone remember Wolverine’s clone, X-23? Coincidentally, X-23 is also the new Wolverine in the new Marvel comics, a potential parallel for Rey if she becomes the next Jedi Master. Disney now owns both Marvel and Lucasfilm, so this ploy isn’t a stretch.
Rey being a clone still allows her to have Skywalker lineage, staying faithful to the concept that Star Wars is a story about the Skywalker family. The clone theory can also be accepted at face value without having to introduce new characters or concepts. It was all established in the previous films and The Force Awakens. I also want to make clear that the following is just one way Luke’s cloning could have occurred. People are going to pick apart the details of the theory left and right, but I want to emphasize that the fundamental theory is plausible. I don’t want you to miss the forest through the trees.
Near the beginning of the film, Kylo Ren established that cloning technology still existed in the galaxy when speaking with General Hux about the traitor in the Stormtrooper ranks. This doesn’t seem like a throwaway line. At first glance, it’s a line establishing the new Stormtroopers aren’t clones, presumably, in part, to silence the black-guys-can’t-be-Stormtroopers crowd, but mostly to help create a backstory for Finn. However, it seems weird Kylo Ren would bring up the concept of creating a whole new army, which would take at least ten years and billions of credits to grow, just to get under Hux’s skin. It was a subtle reminder to viewers that cloning is still a thing and can be used at any time by anyone.
Who Would Create a Clone of Luke?
The big question is: Who would create a clone of Luke Skywalker and how? Well, that’s easy. The same person who ended up with Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber: Maz Kanata. It stands to reason that if Maz could somehow get a hold of a lightsaber floating around Bespin, she could also get her hands on what was holding the lightsaber: Luke’s severed hand. After The First Order attacks her castle, Maz leads Finn and Han to Luke’s lightsaber. Han asks her where she got it and her reply was an obvious, “we’ll get to this question in the next film,” response. We’re led to believe the lightsaber is the crucial element of that story. It’s not. Its Luke’s DNA, giving Maz the genetic material needed to create a clone of Luke. Maz seems to know a lot about Luke and the Force in general. In fact, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary reveals Maz Kanata is Force-sensitive. She still has a greater role left to play, but I’ll come back to her later. The next question is then why would someone clone Luke?
Why Clone Luke?
Enter Lor San Tekka and the Church of the Force.
We never hear his name, Kylo Ren calls him “The Old Man,” but Max von Sydow’s character is the first person to speak dialogue in the film. He has some connection to Leia, to the Jedi, and he knows who Kylo Ren really is. The Visual Dictionary and the end credits of The Force Awakens tell us a few things about this old man. His name is Lor San Tekka, and he was a follower of the Church of the Force. The Church is basically a secret society during the Empire’s days dedicated to preserving the ideals of the Jedi for their eventual return to the galaxy. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought it was strange that a nameless old man with an implied long history with Leia somehow had a piece of a map leading to Luke Skywalker but was killed before we can learn more about him. Seems like a waste of a talent for the venerable actor. Unless of course, as a leader of the Church of the Force, Tekka wanted to make sure the Jedi survived. What better way to do that than to clone the last living Jedi?
As I already mentioned, Tekka is keenly aware of whom Kylo Ren really is and Kylo Ren knows Tekka. It stands to reason that Tekka knew Kylo Ren/Ben Solo as a child, which means he may very well know Ben Solo was struggling with the Dark Side of the Force when Leia sent him off to train with Luke. As a follower of the Church of the Force, Tekka wanted to ensure Jedi made a comeback in the galaxy. He says to Poe, “without the Jedi there can be no balance.” Ben Solo threatened to undo that legacy, which ultimately turns out to be right. Creating a clone of Luke with Maz Kanata’s help was a failsafe policy.
How They Cloned Luke
As a traveler and member of the Church of the Force, it’s not far-fetched that Tekka may have come across the Force-sensitive Maz Kanata, who herself discovered the severed hand and lightsaber of Luke Skywalker. The two then took it upon themselves to create a clone of Luke. More than that, when Ben Solo became Kylo Ren and destroyed the new generation of Jedi, they would guide the clone in the same way Obi-Wan and Yoda guided Luke. Tekka would watch over Rey on Jakku far from the prying eyes of the Knights of Ren and Maz would teach her the ways of the Force while presenting her with her “father’s” lightsaber when she was ready to take up Luke’s mantle or even become his apprentice. It’s clear to Maz, as she states in the film, the only battle that matters is against the Dark Side. Cloning the last Jedi doesn’t seem out of the realm of what she would be willing to do. By the way, the first thing Rey sees when she has her Force-vision is the hallway on Bespin, where Luke battles Vader before losing his hand and his lightsaber. I’m not sure if that’s significant, but in the context of Rey coming into existence due to Luke’s duel with Vader and Maz acquiring both Luke’s hand and lightsaber, it makes sense.
Now there is no evidence to show Tekka ever met Rey, and Maz doesn’t seem to know who Rey is when she asks Han, “Who’s the girl?” Neither of those things detracts from the theory. Tekka is killed before we learn anything about him, but he does live less than a day’s walk, or roll I guess in BB-8’s case, away from Rey. That seems like roughly the same distance Obi-Wan was from Luke in A New Hope. Likewise, if Rey was only a very young child when she was abandoned on Jakku by her “family,” Maz wouldn’t recognize Rey as a grown adult, if she even laid eyes on her at all. After Rey has her Force-vision, we see Maz running towards her as if she were in a hurry. It’s possible when Han told Maz about Rey, Maz realized who she was and rushed to find her. Maz went to the one place she knew the Force would guide Rey: Luke’s lightsaber. Since the original script, as well as the novelization, has Maz returning to the Resistance base with Finn and Han, it’s safe to assume she survived the events of The Force Awakens, and, from her, “a good question for another time,” line, I also think it is safe to assume she will return in Episode VIII. Tekka was also able to hide for years with a piece of the star map, which might originally have been meant for Rey to use until the Resistance showed up. Tekka couldn’t refuse an old friend in Leia.
Clearing Up Potential Criticism
One slight issue with the clone theory is if Rey is a female clone of Luke, why doesn’t she look like Leia? My only answer to that would be Luke and Leia are only fraternal twins meaning a clone of Luke wouldn’t have to be identical to Leia. I don’t know if that’s true or what the canon says in this regard. I would argue Attack of the Clones made it clear clones can be genetically altered, so changing a clone’s appearance or gender doesn’t seem all that difficult. I don’t think that’s a big deal, but it is a detail that could bug some people. Another question raised is does Luke know he has a clone? It’s unclear. It’s hard to read into Luke’s facial expressions at the end of The Force Awakens, so it’s impossible to say if he somehow recognizes Rey. You also might be wondering who are Rey’s parents that abandon her on Jakku? The most obvious answer is Lor San Tekka, but it could also have been surrogate parents who were members of the Church of the Force.
You can quibble about the details of the who, how, and why. The minutia is not that important. I’ve even seen speculation Snoke or even Leia may have been the one to clone Luke. The important thing to take away is the clone theory fits. The Force Awakens lays the groundwork for the theory, it has sufficient plot-twist material attached to it, her connection to Luke is explained, and the reveal wouldn’t require much dialogue or even explanation that couldn’t be saved for Episode IX or even novels or comics. Boba Fett was a clone. Why not Rey?
What do you all think?