Rey A Palpatine – Always In The Mix
Many have said it before and many have said it better. But there was one scene in The Force Awakens when Rey was facing Kylo Ren, that I had a nightmarish inkling that the scavenger might be related to Emperor Palpatine.
Watch the lightsaber move that Rey makes below; where she thrusts her saber, spear-like:
And compare Palpatine’s spear-like move here, in Revenge of the Sith:
And, there was this passage from Allan Dean Foster’s novelization of The Force Awakens:
Kill him, a voice inside her head said. It was amorphous, unidentifiable, raw. Pure vengeful emotion. So easy, she told herself. So quick.
She recoiled from it. From the dark side.
Looking back, was Foster channeling this below scene, again from Revenge of the Sith?
The moments are roughly analogous. Young Anakin Skywalker listening to Palpatine, and — essentially — speeding his path toward the dark side. Rey mirrors the reaction, chooses to instead walk away from Kylo and the dark side.
And finally, there is J.J. Abrams insisting that Rey, through Daisy, have an “English” accent; while John Boyega cop an “American” accent.
In my heart of hearts, I wanted that to mean that Rey was somehow a Kenobi. Nope.
Now, I didn’t write up the Rey Palpatine theory (at least I don’t remember doing it) and I wish no credit. However, I was buoyed in my movie discernment by a recent piece by Screen Rant, which neatly added some empirical evidence via the below tweets.
This Palpatine sketch is dated November 1, 2017 but the earliest Palpatine pieces are dated October 11, 2017 which, if you’ve read the Art of #TheRiseOfSkywalker, you’ll know is mere days after the art department started on the film.#StarWars https://t.co/fz4uCiPLB1
— Phil Szostak (@PhilSzostak) July 4, 2020
Honestly, I am happy to see that. However, my enjoyment of the films does not depend on whether Rey was a Palpatine from the beginning. In fact, the “Who’s the girl?” to “I’m nobody…” to could’ve been a creative construct. And that would have been fine with me.
What makes this all the more striking, though, is that this confirms Palpatine’s return was already in the works before Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released in December 2017. This is still well after additional photography had been completed for The Last Jedi, however, so clearly Rian Johnson’s film didn’t change shape in any way to help set Palpatine up. Reshoots for Star Wars: The Last Jedi appear to have focused on the late Carrie Fisher, Canto Bight, “broom boy,” and Vice Admiral Holdo – not on Kylo Ren or Supreme Leader Snoke, who could potentially have been used to hint at a greater dark side threat.
Except that they KILLED Snoke. Which set up another potential baddie. Rey – nah. Kylo – who had already been set up for redemption. No. So, who?
Now, we know that answer to be The Emperor.
Anyway. My ONLY critique of The Rise of Skywalker is that I wanted more; perhaps a two-movie vehicle for the final chapter of the Skywalker saga. I walked out of the movie excited but owning a lot of questions. The book filled in a lot of those gaps, but I would have liked to have seen them:
- More of Rey’s parents; Jedi hunter Ochi
- Some more explanation of Palpatine’s use of Vader’s helmet, Snoke to speak to Kylo.
- And, more input and understanding of the Force ghosts/voices in the final battle.
No. Rey as a Palpatine doesn’t bug me. They only thing that bugs me is having questions about how Rey’s parents, Palpatine’s manipulations, etc.
But that’s what books and comics are for, no?
You can watch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on Disney+ right now!