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Of all the characters that we met In Star Wars: The Force Awakens there is nobody more interesting than Rey. Even she is in the dark about much of her own history, and so, we as fans are also missing many details about who she truly is. We don't know where she came from or why she has a connection to Luke Skywalker. There is a great deal of information that we do have, and much we can consider. Here's everything that we know about Rey as it pertains to Star Wars: Episode VIII.
Where Star Wars: Episode 8 Will Begin
Our first image of the beginning of production on Star Wars: Episode VIII seemed to be of the exact same scene that ended Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The implication is that the film will be picking up immediately after the events of the last film. This will be a first for the series as previous films have had gaps of years between them.
While picking up right where they left off will be unusual (what would the opening text crawl even say?) it makes sense. We would fully expect that Rey has many questions for Luke Skywalker and they would likely be the first things out of her mouth when she finally meets him. Since we know Rey is somehow connected to Luke Skywalker, as the lightsaber called to her, then it follows that Luke would have some of these answers.
While it's impossible to know for certain what Rey and Luke Skywalker are thinking as they stand on the cliff together we can make some educated guesses based on their expressions. Rey's face is full of emotion. She's been through so much to get to this place, and she still doesn't fully understand why or how she got here. She stands where she does because she needs answers and she hopes that Luke Skywalker has them. Luke looks shocked. He wasn't necessarily expecting visitors. In fact, one report says that Luke's first words in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi will actually be "Who are you?" which would seem to imply that he has no idea what's going on here.
Daisy Ridley made an interesting comment recently that she "isn't sure" that Rey is, or will become, a Jedi. While we sort of assumed that Luke training Rey to use the Force would be part of Star Wars: Episode VIII, if that's not the case we can't help but wonder exactly what their relationship will be. It's certainly possible that she's making a semantic argument. Luke certainly wasn't a Jedi at the end of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, so maybe that will be the case here as well. Word on early scenes of Star Wars The Last Jedi have reportedly shown Rey using Luke's lightsaber during some sort of training scene. Also, the title of the new film itself, The Last Jedi does appear to have a plural use of the word, so we're assuming one of the referenced Jedi is Rey.
The Unanswered Questions
This leads us into the key question about Rey. Where did she come from? Who are the parents she was waiting for? While virtually every aspect of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has a fan theory attached to it, none have seen as much life as the question of Rey's lineage. Nearly every character in the Star Wars universe who's older than Rey has been theorized as one of her parents. The prevailing theory prior to the release of Episode VII was that she was the child of Leia Organa and Han Solo, and while she was not overtly recognized as such by them in the movie some are still holding on to the possibility. She's also been attached to Luke Skywalker, as the lightsaber that had spent so long in the Skywalker family did call to her. Some think she might be a Kenobi, as Obi-Wan's voice was also heard in her vision. More recently the newest woman in the world of Star Wars, Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso, has become the theory du jour, with many believing that she would turn out to be Rey's mother. Although, now that we've seen the end of that movie, we know that's not the case.
A possibly more important question, though, is why was Rey left behind? Did she need to be protected? Was she dangerous? And why wouldn't her parents ever return? It's possible that whoever they were, they're dead now, which is why they never came back. What seems clear is that Rey's history is directly related to her ability in some way. It's unlikely that we'll get all of our answers in Star Wars: Episode VIII. There is a third movie after all, and they will likely leave some of these questions to be answered there. Star Wars: The Force Awakens' director J.J. Abrams made a statement that seemed to imply that the characters who will turn out to be her parents have not yet appeared in the film, though a follow-up statement clarified that she simply doesn't know who they are. So, it's possible that she's already met them.
By far the strongest friendship forged in Star Wars: The Force Awakes was the one between Rey and Finn. The two instantly became united in common cause when they escaped Jakku together. While Finn is seriously wounded at the end of the film, all indications are that he will be ok. However, if Rey is spending most of her time with Luke Skywalker, we have to wonder if she and Finn will even cross paths in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We certainly hope that we will see more of Finn and Rey's relationship. She protected him after Kylo Ren took him down, and he joined the assault on Starkiller Base only to rescue her. We expect this friendship will endure throughout Episode 8.
The First Order
Beyond Rey's Force abilities we're also wondering exactly how Rey will fit into the battle between the Resistance and The First Order going forward. Rey certainly threw in with the Resistance when she decided she needed to help BB-8 get home, beyond that she's mostly found herself a victim of circumstance. She was ready to walk away entirely when she first touched the lightsaber and saw where this road was taking her. Will she become a full-fledged member of the Resistance, or will her goals lie elsewhere, such as looking for her family and trying to discover the basis for her ability to use the Force? Will she be forced to choose between her friends and her training as Luke once was?
And what does the future hold between Rey and Kylo Ren? She bested him once, but only as he was slowly bleeding to death from a shot from Chewbacca's brutal bow caster. We fully expect the two will meet again, when Kylo Ren is much stronger. What will she be able to do then?
The schedule for Star Wars: Episode VIII was pushed back by six months due to a need to do additional work on the script. Reports have indicated that this was done to increase the size of the roles that Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron will play in the new film. Apparently, the original plan was to give larger parts to entirely new characters, but, considering how positive the audience response was to Rey, Finn and Poe, the filmmakers have, understandably, changed their minds about that. At this point, information like this doesn't mean a great deal beyond the fact that Rey will continue to play a prominent role in the film series. Although, it does imply her role was going to be smaller at one point. What sort of additional material will we get as part of this larger role? It'll sure be fun to see.
In addition to those rewrites, it's possible that additional changes have been made following the death of Carrie Fisher. While the actress had completed filming on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, there have been rumors that the fact that she won't be in Star Wars: Episode IX could impact how her role is handled in Episode VIII. Depending on how Leia's story relates to Rey's, changes to one character could impact the other.
About Those New Characters
Exactly who they are or how they'll fit in isn't clear but we can fully expect that the new cast members joining the new trilogy will impact Rey in some way. Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kellie Marie Tran have all joined the cast. We don't know much about any of the characters, beyond the fact that Kellie Marie Tran's part is being called a "lead" role, and Del Toro is maybe playing a villain. Time will tell us who these folks are and how they will impact Rey's journey.
That Hair, Though
There are so many things that we simply don't know about Rey, especially as it pertains to the new film. There is, however, one thing that we do know. Based on some of the early marketing for the movie, we have seen that Rey will be wearing her hair down in the new film. It's not much, but, normally, when a character in a big story like Star Wars goes through a physical transformation, it either is a result of, or a response to, a psychological change as well. We do expect to see Rey go through some big changes in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and we're looking forward to seeing them all.
Well, that's everything we know right now about Rey's role in Star Wars: Episode 8. We'll keep you up to date as new information arises.