It would appear that Star Wars lore just cannot stay solid as, just this week, Rey’s parentage changed yet again. As events and details in the novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker showed, the official word on the origin of Rey’s parents is not exactly what you might’ve assumed, given the details present in the film. Further, it would seem that the actor who played Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) shed some light on an earlier version of the films’ script, after the impenetrable wall of Lucasfilm NDA fell at the film’s premiere. This is where I say SPOILER ALERT if you’d like to remain unspoiled.
Darth Vader wasn’t always related to Luke
When Star Wars was first released, before it was re-titled Star Wars: A New Hope, George Lucas wasn’t entirely set on the idea that Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader had any real connection. That’s a bit part of the reason why it seemed so strange and unbelievable that, given the situation in Obi-Wan’s mission to hide Luke after the events in Revenge of The Sith, he didn’t bring the boy to a less… obvious location.
It also explains why Obi-Wan and Luke’s aunt and uncle didn’t take precautions to change Luke’s last name. George Lucas didn’t necessarily expect that more the one film would be made. He certainly WANTED such a thing, but it wasn’t a guarantee back in 1977.
Fast forward to the Star Wars sequel films, and we’ve got some more interesting points about plot. Lucasfilm leaders do keep a single vision in mind, and have a set of rules which each newly certified Star Wars writer has to follow. At the same time it is important to remember, despite how much of a bummer it is, that there is no one single true story in Star Wars. This isn’t so much of a documentary as it is an ever-evolving series of stories told from each storyteller’s unique point of view.
The movie implies a few things
In the movie Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it’s implied that we’ve got an Emperor who, through sheer force of will, survived his death-by-suplex distributed by Darth Vader. They do not say explicitly whether this is, in fact, the same Emperor we knew then, but… we can pretty safely assume as much.
It’s suggested – though, again, not set in stone – that The Emperor had a son, who, in turn, met a woman, and that woman gave birth to Rey. Hence, we get the impression that Rey is the granddaughter of The Emperor. Her name, if we assume this is a patriarchal type situation, would be Rey Palpatine.
Meanwhile, Emperor Palpatine was hard at work trying to make some clones after his near-death experience in the Death Star over Endor. He’s been on this hidden Sith planet Exogol just churning out the clones – one of which was Supreme Leader Snoke.
The book says something specific
The book, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Expanded Edition) by Rae Carson, sheds light on the period of time in which the cloning was happening, after Return of the Jedi.
In the darkness of the Sith planet, Kylo Ren finds the cloning tubes, full of strange and distorted visions of humanoid creatures. “He’d seen this apparatus before, too, when he’d studied the Clone Wars as a boy,” reads the novel.
“The liquid flowing into the living nightmare before him was fighting a losing battle to sustain the Emperor’s putrid flesh,” wrote Carson. “Kylo could feel in his very bones that this clone body sheltered the Emperor’s actual spirit. It was an imperfect vessel, though, unable to contain his immense power. It couldn’t last much longer.”
Above you’ll see a video of Ian McDiarmid speaking about an earlier version of the script for The Rise of Skywalker. “More than a clone, less than a man,” about sums everything up.
But there’s more – something that you could, also, have potentially assumed, but wasn’t entirely clear in The Rise of Skywalker. In the book, it’s confirmed that Rey’s father was… also a clone of The Emperor.
So Rey is no longer a granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine, but a sort of… niece? Half-daughter? Who even knows?
The Book The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition (Star Wars) will be released wherever books are sold on March 17, 2020. We’ll see the full picture then!