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Editorial: Are Two Key Star Wars: The Force Awakens Newcomers Related?

My Sister Has ItBack when Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi came out, we were hit with the bombshell that Luke and Leia were siblings (and afterward, we immediately thought of how retroactively awkward it was that she kissed him on the lips… twice). Recent information and less-than-recent speculation have popped up that suggest a similar twist may be in order for two new cast members in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.




Ren & ReyPictured above: what might be the most dangerous exercise in family bonding.


As many of you were probably able to guess (or if you were savvy enough to look at the tags for this article before clicking on it), I’m of the belief that Kylo Ren and Rey are related in some capacity. There are a lot of reasons for this, so let’s start off with some recent revelations from the awakening ad campaign for this movie. Let’s look at the narration for the first television spot:

Maz Kanata: I have lived long enough to see the same eyes in different people. I see your eyes… I know your eyes!

In fiction, the eyes are often the windows to the soul – if someone has “familiar eyes”, it means that their fate is tied to someone else’s. This usually comes about in a simple explanation: “You have your mother’s/father’s eyes.” This could be subtle sign that could be discussing what new generations inherit. Considering the theme of that ad is “every generation has a story”, it’s not hard to see where they’re going with it – it seems as if Maz is telling the person she’s talking to that she’s familiar with at least one person in their family. Given that Rey is the first focus of the trailer, it’s possible that Maz is talking to her (more on Maz and Rey later).


There’s also the little matter of the Topps cards. RickyBoyBlue over at Tumblr made a couple of astute observations about them. He noted that the previous selections to gain certain cards came in pairs – one card is related to the Original Trilogy, while the other is related to The Force Awakens. For instance, there’s one of Han and Chewie as they appear in front of the Millennium Falcon on Mos Eisley, and there’s one of them standing in the cockpit of the ship. There’s another of C-3PO and R2-D2 chilling out, and there’s one of BB-8 rolling along. So when this showed up, he had reason to try and connect a few dots:Possible RelationsAs mentioned above, Luke and Leia are indeed siblings, and there is a pattern to these images. So it seems as though the Topps cards are trying to tell us a little something about Kylo Ren and Rey. Now, I was never a fan of that theory that their parents gave them the cutesy, cringe-inducing names of Kira Rey and Kylo Ren (since “Kira” was established as a production name for Rey’s character early on, and we have since learned that Kylo Ren is a unique title and not an actual name), but I never necessarily excluded the possibility of the characters potentially being related.


In fact, there was a little detail from not too long ago that got me thinking more deeply on the subject. In that recent video from J. J. Abrams, George Lucas – who was involved with the early development of The Force Awakens as a creative consultant and not much else – asked the director tasked with carrying on his legacy about what happened to Anakin’s grandchildren. True to form, J. J. laughed nervously and respectfully dismissed the question (which was the only one that had much to do with the plot of The Force Awakens, albeit indirectly). The response that was something to the effect of “Well, George, you made this sh**, you should know the answer!” – delivered respectfully and humorously. Note the plurality of the statement – grandchildren, not grandchild. And note that Abrams didn’t completely dismiss the prospect of there being Skywalker kids in his movie, either.


“Family” is said to be one of the big themes of The Force Awakens, and perhaps the reason why that is might be closer to us then we have been led to believe. From the sound of things, it appears as though Leia sees Poe Dameron as a son she never had, while Han might hold Finn in a similar regard. Kathleen Kennedy, however, has confirmed that the Episode movies will focus on the Skywalker family as a whole, while the Anthology films are about potentially everything else… so that means that at least one new Skywalker has to be involved in the Sequel Trilogy, and presumably The Force Awakens. Why not throw in another Skywalker into the mix for good measure?


I doubt that I’m the first person to notice this, but the maskless image of Kylo Ren bears some resemblance to Anakin Skywalker as he appeared in Revenge Of The Sith.

Anakin Skywalker & Kylo Ren

We know that the photo of Kylo Ren as he appears here isn’t misdirection, as we can briefly see his black hair while he is unmasked in the last moments of the theatrical trailer. So don’t expect him to be some kind of hideous-looking alien or something – what you see is what you get.


Note that, in spite of a few similarities, there are a few noticeable differences between the way Hayden Christensen and Adam Driver look – Driver’s hair is a much darker color, and he’s got a longer-looking face. Conversely, Rey not only looks like the spitting image of Padmé (as many have already noted)…

Padme & ReyImage edited by SWNN’s Hard Case.


…but she looks a lot like a female version of Luke when he was in his prime!


Luke Rey 3Also edited by Hard Case. Another comparison from Hard Case can be seen here.


Just so we’re clear, I don’t believe that J. J. Abrams picked these two up-and-coming stars just because they are talented in acting. I think that he had a specific look in mind when he was casting these characters. Now, with the physical appearance of the two potential grandkids of Anakin Skywalker out of the way, I’m going to go on a tangent – but I’ll come back to this later in the article. For now, I’m going to discuss something else related to the subject that’s equally relevant. A common theory was that Rey and Kylo Ren were twins (without the stupid-sounding twin-naming convention), which is something I was completely dismissive of (since Adam Driver is 31 and Daisy Ridley is 23, and their characters are probably 3-4 years younger than that)… that is, until recently, when Kathleen Kennedy said that twins might run in the Skywalker family.

Jacen Jaina 1For fans of the now-defunct Star Wars Expanded Universe, the idea of two siblings that are grandchildren to Anakin might sound a bit familiar. In that version of the setting, there were a pair of children who were born to Han and Leia Solo named Jacen and Jaina (cutsey twin names that aren’t extremely putrid and painful to read). The two became the primary protagonists of the post-Galactic Civil War era in the Star Wars Legends setting, becoming major players in defeating the Yuuzhan Vong and the Killik. Unfortunately, Jacen felt that he had to turn to the Dark Side in order to, which resulted in millions of deaths in another Galactic Civil War, which ultimately led to the New Republic falling apart and a new, “enlightened” iteration of the Galactic Empire rising in its place, and Jaina had to kill him. Cheery!


While the later developments of this storyline – particularly, the depressing turn swerve the Legacy Of The Force novels took – weren’t particularly liked by EU fans for a number of reasons, the idea itself does not make for a bad narrative. Anakin’s story arc in the Revenge Of The Sith was essentially about his love of his family being exploited by Palpatine, leading him to the Dark Side, while the focus of Luke’s story arc in Return Of The Jedi ultimately became how the love for his father brought him back to the Light. Perhaps then, the story arc of the Sequel Trilogy might be about how the love for Anakin Skywalker could drive people apart as opposed to bringing them together – with one child following the example of his life as Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, and the other infatuated by the idea of the Sith Lord Darth Vader.

Jacen Jaina 2With that in mind, I personally don’t think it’s likely that they’re twins in spite of the hints to the contrary. As I mentioned earlier, there’s an eight-year difference between the ages of Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley, which is something that’s going to show on the screen itself. Furthermore, the two don’t look much alike. But that certainly does not rule out blood relations at all. But while some are suggesting that they might still be siblings, I’m thinking outside the box with this one. In the end, what I think is going to happen is that Kylo Ren is the long-lost son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, while Rey is Luke Skywalker’s baby girl. Instead of making the two characters brother and sister, they would be cousins instead. For one thing, Kylo Ren bears a passing resemblance to his hypothetical grandfather while Rey has a lot of her hypothetical grandmother and her hypothetical father. If they were both siblings, they would be a little more likely to resemble one side of the family over the other.


Certain rumored story elements – including a few that Making Star Wars has come across – would support this. It’s basically been confirmed in the Journey To The Force Awakens books that Han Solo and Leia Organa are not together at the beginning of The Force Awakens, but that they don’t seem to be mad at one another – they even hug in a scene in the theatrical trailer. Another rumor involves Han having some kind of angst about Kylo Ren that’s been tearing him apart from the inside for several years. At one point, Kylo Ren is said to find the Millennium Falcon without its crew, sitting in the cockpit solemnly while reflecting upon something. I would argue that these three story elements are linked – Kylo Ren was Han and Leia’s son that was somehow taken from them, which probably did irrevocable damage to their kinship. Upon learning of this – perhaps after being brainwashed into believing a lie from either Snoke or the Knights Of Ren – Kylo starts to reflect on the life that was taken from him. In any case, it sounds as though this character is not going to be a simple one-and-done villain like Darth Maul or Wilhuff Tarkin, and that his story will be told in the two other Sequel Trilogy films.

Jacen Jaina 3Rumors about Rey’s backstory are more clear, however. The international trailer may have made mention of her waiting for her parents, but it’s never established who exactly they are. I think the “parents” Rey is referring to are actually adoptive guardians as opposed to biological parents who were tasked with keeping her safe – as hey, that wouldn’t be a first for the Skywalker family. I don’t think she knows that, though, and that she thinks that her adopted parents are her biological parents. What I think is that Luke could have handed her off to a couple he felt he could trust with her – Han and Leia would probably be out of the question if the incident with their kid happened that early into their marriage or whatever their relationship is, and if the KOR were targeting the children of Anakin’s heirs, Luke would most likely want Rey to keep a low profile until he could come back for her. The couple raising mysteriously disappeared years into Rey’s life (and probably died, because Disney loves their orphans), but Rey is able to adapt to life on the hellhole of Jakku by use of her engineering skills and her latent Force abilities (that she’s unaware of) to survive. This is something that may be supported in the trailers with Maz Kanata’s narration – and presuming that she’s indeed talking to Rey, then I think that she’s the type of character that is going to partake in the refusal of the call before finally letting the Force in by the end of the movie. Since Daisy Ridley is signed on for the other two Sequel Trilogy movies, it’s safe to presume that she her story is going to be crucial to this leg of the Star Wars saga.


Ultimately, the paths of the two separate characters would put them on a collision course to do battle with one another. The potential relationship might not be completely revealed until Episode VIII, but if I’m on the right trail here, it does set up a new kind of family conflict. Rey would have to make a choice to either save or destroy her fallen cousin who is consumed by the ideas left by Darth Vader; in a sense, she would be following the principles Anakin Skywalker ultimately believed in for most of his young life and in his final hours, and the conflict would boil down to how she chooses to destroy the tainted legacy he left behind in his wicked years – by either killing or redeeming Kylo Ren. Hopefully, this story won’t end on the same dreary note that Jacen and Jaina’s did.


What do you think? Please vote in the poll below and tell us in the comments:



Grant has been a fan of Star Wars for as long as he can remember, having seen every movie on the big screen. When he’s not hard at work with his college studies, he keeps himself busy by reporting on all kinds of Star Wars news for SWNN and general movie news on the sister site, Movie News Net. He served as a frequent commentator on SWNN’s The Resistance Broadcast.


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