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No, There Is Another: The Best Possible Backstory For Rey

By Joe Starr | Star Wars | January 13, 2016 |

By Joe Starr | Star Wars | January 13, 2016 |

Hey! Lando says SPOILERS AHEAD!


There’s been endless speculation about Rey’s big secret in Star Wars. In fact, searching for answers about our new favorite scavenger is probably the biggest talking point coming out of The Force Awakens: Why was she left on Jakku? Who are her parents? Why did that lightsaber like her so much? Does Luke know her? Is she Obi Wan’s granddaughter? If so, when did Obi Wan date anyone? Did he ever take them to Dexter Jettster’s diner for a quick dinner before going to see a creepy bubble play?

It’s high time I tossed myself into the sarlacc pit of Rey speculation, because I too have nerdy dork thoughts about all of these nerdy dork things. Not only that, but I am a writer on the internet, and that practically makes me a Knight of Ren. If this makes the front page of Reddit, they give me my cool black mask.

I will upvote…what you’ve started.

So. Who is Rey? Well, they’ve already told us: she’s no one. And man, I really hope that’s true. I want Rey to be some force sensitive orphan that got dumped in the desert for reasons we’ll never find out until the Force Awakened and tossed her into a hero’s journey.

Why? Because pulp needs mystery. Wolverine was cool because he had no memories, for instance. Star Wars especially needs mystery- in fact, it thrives on it. The galaxy far, far away soars when it makes us accept information while we strap in for a fun ride, and falls on it’s face when it pumps the brakes to explain things to us. Obi Wan is a master of the Force, and because he understands this weird space magic better than we do, he is special and interesting. I don’t want Qui Gon’s explanation about the Force. I want to be a slack jawed farm boy that dares to believe in space telekinesis, just like Luke. I want the mystery so that I can appreciate Hans’ skepticism. When Star Wars explains the Force, it makes Han dumb. How could you not believe in the Force? It’s microscopic organisms that are in your cells. Did you not go to school? Do you not believe in germs, either? Han, do you wash your hands after you use the bathroom? Han, be honest.

Explaining Star Wars is usually the worst part of Star Wars- and for most pulp adventure, to be honest. Darth Vader is a terrifying man in a black mask until you explain that he used to be a totally wizard little boy that grew up to be a creepy man baby that hates sand because it’s so coarse.


Likewise, Disney just released the short list of names to play young Han Solo and I could give a shit. You can tell any stories you want in this cool universe and you want to explain Han Solo? What questions need to be answered about this pitch perfect character? He’s a scoundrel some heroes found in a bar that decides to break good. That’s all I need to go on an adventure with him.

George Miller reminded us that we don’t need to drown ourselves in backstory when he gave us the best movie of 2015 with Mad Max: Fury Road. You got just enough to understand who everyone was and what they wanted and that’s all you needed. Rey is the same to me. We know everything we need about Rey to make her journey fulfilling. I don’t want her to be a Skywalker or a Kenobi, though I’d be fine if we found out she was half Ackbar.

“I can’t maintain parental responsibilities of that magnitude!”

I understand the importance of legacy in Star Wars storytelling, but Kylo Ren has ticked that box. The appeal of Star Wars is that if you make the choice to open your heart and accept an adventure, you too can be off and running on adventures with Poe Dameron and Ello Asty.

It’s like that little orange Yoda already told her: She doesn’t need the past. Rey’s future isn’t back on Jakku. It’s ahead of her. I hope they stick to their guns.