1. Hints at Who Rey’s Parents Are
I left my first viewing feeling as if Rey was somehow Kylo Ren’s sister. I also wondered if she was Obi-Wan Kenobi’s kin. Then I heard that she might be Luke Skywalker’s daughter, which also seemed to make sense. This time around I looked for clues. Here are my thoughts re: each theory.
Han and Leia
The first thing I noticed was that Han Solo and Rey seem to finish one another’s sentences. They both share a love of piloting and monkeying with the gear on ships. Neither one seems to like following the rules but instead prefer to hack and guess. It made sense to me that she could be the ultimate mixture of Han’s piloting skills/ rebellious spirit and Leia/Luke’s “strength with the force.” I also felt as if Kylo Ren spoke to her with an almost brotherly compassion a couple times. He had tenderness toward her, offering to be her teacher and all, but it wasn’t sexual, like a “crush.” There’s a moment when they almost empathize with one another while he’s trying to extract the image of the map from her mind. What struck me most in support of this Kylo vs. Rey sibling theory is a scene at the end of their beautiful forest saber fight, when the ground splits between the two of them. Suddenly we see them from a bird’s-eye view, on opposite sides of a the split. To me this seemed to symbolize two twins separated by the light side and the dark side of the force.
She didn’t seem to believe that Luke Skywalker was real when his name first came up. They also show her as a child crying for her family as they leave her, and she seems old enough to know what her dad’s name might be. However, at the end, it’s Rey who goes to see Luke. Why do they pick her out of all people? Selecting Rey might imply that she’s his daughter. Related: did Leia have a more motherly or aunt-type vibe with Rey? This was hard to determine. She tells Rey, “May the force be with you,” but that doesn’t say much. Maybe viewing number three will reveal some clues there.
The man talking to Poe at the beginning of the movie, Lor San Tekka, reminded me a lot of Obi-Wan Kenobi. I feel like he was there to remind us that Obi-Wan Kenobi was an important guy too, one who also hung out on a sandy planet. The only other thing in support of this theory, at least as far as I have seen, is that Ewan McGregor does narration during the scene where she touches the lightsaber and has a series of flashbacks.
Are her parents famous?
Maybe Rey is just a scrappy young chica who is not part of a family of Jedis known across the galaxy. This is another theory, or at least a wish some people reviewing the film have expressed. Watching it a second time, I didn’t find much evidence of this theory. Instead I noticed many more foreshadowing hints that her family is important, and she has been waiting for them, but she’s actually more likely to find them on her adventures as a Jedi.
2. What’s in a Name?
The movie Pitch Perfect pointed out that Vader means “father” in German and we were all stupid not to notice that. This made me look for any very obvious hints about characters based on things like “their name.” The most obvious one I noticed is that Rey means King in Spanish. (Queen is reina, which may have been too straightforward.) If the naming convention is to be bluntly trusted, we can assume Rey will become even more important in the galaxy. When it comes to decoding Kylo Ren, the most interesting interpretation I could find is that “ky” is for Skywalker, lo is for “solo” and Ren just rhymes with Ben. (His name is Ben Solo.) Hmmm. And Finn’s name is just his designator turned into a name. A web forum commenter (hero?) also pointed out that Rey and Ren are similar names, but hers has a y (for yes/ light side) and his has an n (for no/ dark side). Seems wacky, but also supports my twin theory.
Ok the rest of my observations will not be about theories.
3. The Most Beautiful/ Epic Shots
My votes go to the shot of Rey, her face lit by a lightsaber, hearing the word “force” and closing her eyes, and the horrifying shot of Hux looking over his Nazi-like troops as the red light of their weapon reflects in his eyes. They both felt very modern/ epic without feeling like a disconnect from the past movies.
4. Hux is a Better Villain than Kylo Ren
I stand by my original observation that Domhnall Gleeson (aka Bill Weasley of Harry Potter) steals the show as the best villain in this movie. I felt like I was watching The Man in the High Castle during his scenes. Scary stuff. (Don’t cry though Adam Driver, you bring a millennial man sensitivity to cinematic villainhood.)
5. BB-8 is Cuter than R2-D2
Call this sacrilege if you must, but BB-8 may take the cake as the saga’s most awesome robot. R2-D2 is timeless, but I kinda want BB-8 to be my friend even more. The scene where Finn gives BB-8 a thumbs-up and BB-8 responds by lighting his lighter is one of my favorite scenes in the whole film.
6. The Scene Where the Resistance is Strategizing Together is The Most “J.J. Abrams”
Maybe it’s because it has Ken Leung (Lost, also AMAZING on The Sopranos) and Greg Grunberg (Felicity). This scene also feels more Star Trek somehow, but not sure why.
7. Who the Eff is Snoke?
The first time I saw this movie, I was so dazzled by everything that I accepted Snoke at face value. Yes, I thought, he’s like the Voldemort hologram of the galaxy right now, and he kinda looks like Darth Vader sans mask, plus a little Gollum? I got it. Bad guy #1. The baddest guy. But the second time I had more questions. Why does Kylo Ren care so much what this guy thinks? He’s called to the light side of the force, where his parents and lots of people who don’t have to wear masks are (he so wants to ditch his mask and let loose his luscious locks), yet Snoke convinces him to resist. What is so tempting about this odd-faced shadow man? IDGI. The explanation better be good.
8. Finn’s Character Arc is Badass. Poe Needs a Flaw.
I noticed a lot more about the tension going on with Finn the second time around. Is he a Stormtrooper? Is he running from the Stormtroopers? Or is he part of the resistance? Or just a liar? He doesn’t seem to know, and he feels guilty about this, which adds a level of humanity and humor to his character. Poe shows up and generally rules, but I wish he had a certain similar inner battle. Kylo Ren’s got one. Finn’s got one. Rey’s got one. What’s his? Maybe in the next movie???
9. The Light Side of the Force Isn’t About Do-Gooding
In my memories of Star Wars, “the force” is a very simplistic analogy for being good vs. being bad, one that even children can understand. Yet now I think it’s something less stupid than that. The rebels/ resistance aren’t necessarily “good” people. They’re rebellious — they steal, they hack, they improvise, they question, they cause a lot of trouble. They also like leather and booze, and they certainly don’t like saying “yes sir” and following orders. Instead, The Force Awakens got me thinking about how the light side is the side of critical thinking and risk-taking, whereas the dark side is about nodding to authority and assuming you’ll get rewarded for upholding your part of the puzzle. This reminded me of the study that came out recently that found that agreeable, kindly people were more likely to follow orders to hurt others than ornery, contrarian people. Damnit if Han Solo being a curmudgeon doesn’t make him a hero.
Ok that’s nine things. That’s a lot. I plan to see this movie a couple more times, because it’s Star Wars so maybe I’ll notice more later. If Rey turns out to be Kylo Ren’s sister, I said it here first. If not, you will forget this ever happened! (That was Jedi mindspeak. Get it?)