How Rey Kenobi May Have Changed Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

Daisy Ridley as Rey Skywalker in Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker
(Image credit: (Disney))

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may have wrapped up the Star Wars franchise's Skywalker Saga last year, but one particular conversation about Daisy Ridley’s Rey is still very much alive and will likely continue to be debated for years to come: her lineage. Since The Force Awakens came out, there was a prominent theory regarding her potential relationship to Obi Wan Kenobi per a short flashback, which was then shot down in The Last Jedi when Kylo Ren revealed she was “nobody.” Then The Rise of Skywalker, of course, revealed that she was officially the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine. But in the closing scene of the franchise, she decided to attach herself to the Skywalker family on her own.

Recently we’ve been talking about Rey Kenobi again since Daisy Ridley made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and revealed that at one time, the filmmakers actually were toying with Rey Kenobi. In her words:

At the beginning, there was toying with an Obi-Wan connection. There were different versions and then it really went to she was no one. And then it came to Episode IX and J.J. pitched me the film and was like, 'oh yeah, Palpatine's granddaddy,' and I was like 'awesome.' And then two weeks later he was like 'oh we're not sure.' So it kept changing.

So in an alternate universe, Rey very well could have been a Kenobi, and it sounds like J.J. Abrams was very much toying with the idea up until the last Skywalker Saga entry. It’s time to talk out how a different bloodline may have shifted the story and perhaps put to rest which outcome we prefer.

Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

(Image credit: (Lucasfilm))

Palpatine’s Resurrection Would Not Have Been Necessary

First off, if Rey was not the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine, we may not have needed the plotline between her and Ian McDiarmid’s iconic Star Wars character. Since The Rise of Skywalker was a controversial release, it seems to be pretty 50/50 about whether you were happy to see Grandaddy Palpy in the film. He does die (or so we thought) in the Original Trilogy, so technically his story arc does have a conclusion without his return to the series for the finale.

Personally, I didn't think it was necessary to have him come back, but it did bring the franchise completely full circle and add immense stakes for Rey and the Resistance. If Rey was a Kenobi, the franchise could have focused entirely on Rey vs. Kylo Ren as the rest of the trilogy was doing, but it would be missing an additional element from the series' past.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and Daisy Ridley as Rey in Rise of Skywalker

(Image credit: (Lucasfilm))

The Parallels Between Revenge Of The Sith And Rise Of Skywalker Would Be Strong

Another element of The Rise of Skywalker that may have changed if Rey had been revealed to be a Kenobi is the dynamic between Rey and Kylo Ren. As we know, back in Revenge of the Sith, Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker (Kylo’s grandpa) had a final showdown where Ben’s attempts to prevent Anakin from staying with the Dark Side failed. This was redeemed through Ben teaching Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, which later leads to the young Jedi finishing what his mentor started.

If The Rise of Skywalker had Rey Kenobi, there would be an additional connection because it would be people from the same lineages once again at odds. Luke’s dynamic with Darth Vader doesn’t “save” Darth Vader, so Rey does have the chance to finish what he’s started by redeeming Kylo Ren. As a result, this brings in some major parallels to the rest of the franchise. However, this is more the product of her training with Luke and her instincts to see the good in him rather than the significance of her lineage.

Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan Kenobi

(Image credit: (Lucasfilm))

There Would Be A Deeper Connection Between The Animated Shows … And The Obi Wan Disney+ Series?

Another possibility The Rise of Skywalker may have explored if she was the descendant of Obi Wan Kenobi was a greater immersion in the larger Star Wars timeline that has been further explored in television shows such as The Clone Wars, for example. If Rey Kenobi happened, there’s a chance she would also be related to Satine Kryze, a.k.a. the Duchess of Mandalore. If she shared Ben Kenobi’s bloodline, she could also find connections to the Mandalorians – a history that is also being explored in the Disney+ series The Mandalorian as well.

Satine was the former girlfriend of Obi-Wan in the animated series. Although the timeline doesn't match up to make Obi-Wan and Satine the direct parents of Rey, they could be her grandparents. (The Satine voice actor even recently co-signed on the idea.) Some theorize Sabine is their secret daughter while others believe Korkie Kryze is the couple's child as well. Plus, Satine’s sister is a particularly important character, Bo-Katan, who is jumping to live-action in The Mandalorian Season 2. All the dots may not be connected, but if Rey was related to them, the franchise could further get into them through other mediums aside from the Skywalker Saga.

With this in mind, Rey’s relationship with the Star Wars family tree could have actually been more intriguing than hers with Palpatine. Plus, it would be relevant to not only The Mandalorian, but Obi-Wan Kenobi, who Ewan McGregor is returning to for his own Disney+ show.

Daisy Ridley in Rise of Skywalker

(Image credit: (Lucasfilm))

So Would Star Wars Have Been Better Off With Rey Kenobi?

There are riches of possibilities we could speculate on since we're examining what could have happened, but I think it does come down with these three points: was the return of Palpatine necessary? Would the added parallels between the bloodlines be worthwhile? And what would Rey’s lineage to Obi-Wan mean to the Star Wars galaxy?

Overall, I do think it would have been theoretically a better decision for Rey to be a Kenobi. The Palpatine plotline felt a bit out of left field and the idea of Rey being explored further into the lore unfolding on Disney+ is an exciting notion. But there’s a factor to keep in mind. Rey Kenobi is what everyone was expecting, and I believe there would have been the same response, where fans would have accused the filmmakers of doing a fill in the blank for the conclusion.

While Rey’s story was and will continue to be defined from her lineage, the Palpatine storyline did give her a leg up because she could divert away from her destiny and “become a Skywalker.” If she did become a Kenobi, it may have felt too prophetical as well. What do you think? Team Kenobi, Palpatine or Nobody? Vote in our poll below and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more Star Wars news.

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Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.