Star Wars’ Rey Skywalker Plan Shows Just How Much Went Wrong
Rey becoming a Skywalker was Disney’s plan all along, and it highlights the biggest problems of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Let’s take a look.
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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker brought the Skywalker saga to an end, but it also highlighted some major problems in the sequel trilogy. The film was packed with reveals that retconned various moments from the previous films, and one of the biggest ones was Rey adopting the last name “Skywalker”, which was planned years ago but didn’t have the impact the writers expected. The Skywalker saga began in 1977 with the film now known as Star Wars: A New Hope, which introduced viewers around to world to a galaxy far, far away, and characters like Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi completed what became the original trilogy, but there was more to be explored in this universe, and so the prequel trilogy happened. This was released between 1999 and 2005, and focused on the story of Anakin Skywalker, from his days as a young slave in Tatooine to his rise as Sith lord Darth Vader. Following the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney, the studio began working on a new trilogy, beginning in 2015 with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and introducing a new generation of heroes and villains while bringing definitive closure to the main characters of the original films.
The sequels focused on scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley), former stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega), and Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), along with Ben Solo/Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Sadly, there wasn’t consistency between the sequels, and the final entry, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, made some big reveals that only ended up hurting the whole trilogy (and some of the previous films as well). Among those was Rey’s parentage, as she turned out to be Sheev Palpatine’s granddaughter, but in the end, she chose to take on the last name of “Skywalker”. Although it felt like a sudden decision, especially after Star Wars: The Last Jedi revealed she was a “nobody”, having her become a Skywalker was planned from the beginning – and that shows how much went wrong with the Star Wars sequels.
Star Wars’ Rey Skywalker Ending Was Planned in 2014
Rey’s backstory was the biggest mystery of the Star Wars sequels, especially after she showed she was Force sensitive and was quite skilled in the use of a lightsaber. Fans came up with all types of theories about who her parents (or grandparents) were, and some of the candidates were Luke Skywalker and even Obi-Wan Kenobi. By the time Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrived, fans were hoping it would reveal Rey’s parentage, and it did – problem was, it wasn’t what they were expecting. Kylo Ren told her she was a nobody, and her parents sold her “for drinking money”. This was retconned (even if they tried to make it look as if it was “a twist”) in The Rise of Skywalker, with Rey being a descendant of Palpatine. The film ends with Rey introducing herself as “Rey Skywalker”, which is seen by some as the Skywalker’s ultimate victory over Palpatine.
After everything that happened in The Rise of Skywalker, the “Rey Skywalker” moment only ended up feeling like an addition to save the character and the film, and didn’t have the impact the writers were most likely expecting – but as it turns out, “Rey Skywalker” was planned years before The Rise of Skywalker came out. An excerpt from the book The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker details a story group meeting that took place in 2014, in which Pablo Hidalgo talked about Rey’s role, saying he liked “the idea that she’s going to be our Skywalker, but she’s not a Skywalker” and so the last name is “really a metaphor. It’s doesn’t have to be something that’s directly connected to blood”. While the overall intention of the Skywalker metaphor is good, the execution is what took all meaning away from it.
Star Wars Didn’t Plan HOW Rey Skywalker Would Happen
Disney knew the Star Wars sequels would have Rey becoming a Skywalker, but they didn’t know how to get to that – and it showed. The lack of communication between those in charge of each film was evident, to the point where many fans consider The Rise of Skywalker to be The Force Awakens 2.0, and The Last Jedi to be an entity of its own. Rey’s journey ended up being quite messy due to the inconsistency of it, and Disney didn’t pay attention on what would have to happen for her to become a Skywalker. The reveal could have still worked if she had stayed as the “nobody” The Last Jedi established, but the addition of Palpatine to her arc only made it harder for her decision to be a Skywalker to be believable (and emotional, which was surely among their intentions).
Rey Skywalker Shows The Problems With Disney’s Star Wars Trilogy
Disney’s lack of a plan for the Star Wars sequels is no secret, and the reveal of “Rey Skywalker” being where they wanted it to end only highlights the problem. The sequel trilogy has been heavily criticized for its lack of cohesion, retcons and contradictions, plot holes, how it rushed some things and how it favored others that weren’t really that relevant. Disney’s lack of a plan also affected both old and new characters, such as R2D2, Rose Tico, Captain Phasma, Snoke, The Knights of Ren, and Maz Kanata, all of which ended up being wasted in different ways. Fans didn’t get to see the characters from the original trilogy together again (and they all ended up dying, except Chewbacca, though he had his own fake death in The Rise of Skywalker), and it wasn’t until the final film that the heroes from this trilogy finally worked together, proving that The Rise of Skywalker was used as Disney’s final chance to “make things right”, which obviously failed, to the point where the novelization tried to do some damage control (and also failed).
The message behind Rey becoming a Skywalker wasn’t bad, as it’s all about her choosing her own path and taking on the name of her mentors and truly the only parent figures she has had, and along with the Palpatine reveal, it also proves that she’s in no way like her grandfather – the problem was how the story got there, as it was a very messy road full of contradictions and lazy answers. The problems with Disney’s Star Wars trilogy wouldn’t have happened if the studio had had an actual plan, ensuring that the films wouldn’t feel disconnected while also allowing each director to give them their own touch, and also preserving the meaning behind “Rey Skywalker”.