Star Wars is obsessed with destiny and with Episode 9 The Rise of Skywalker completing the sequel trilogy, Rey and Kylo Ren’s stories come to a dramatic close with huge reveals about Rey’s parents, her connection to the Dark Side, and Kylo’s fate. There will, of course, be spoilers, so take care if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
1In The Name Of Skywalker
In the very final scene of Episode 9, we see Rey visit Luke’s old home, the Lars homestead on Tatooine, where she buries both Luke and Leia’s sabers in honor of their sacrifice for the freedom of the galaxy.
She then unveils her own new lightsaber, and when an old lady asks who she is, Rey replies that she’s “Rey Skywalker”, as the Force Ghosts of Luke and Leia look upon her. It’s a bold statement that will doubtless spark debate because Rey isn’t a Skywalker by blood. What Rey’s really doing here though is two-fold.
Firstly, on a personal note, she’s showing her allegiance and adopting the family she identifies with over her biological one. Rey is not a Jedi because of her heritage but because of how she chooses to act and who she chooses to be.
Secondly, she’s taking the legendary family name and establishing it as an identity or title for the future Jedi. And Rey looking out over Tatooine with the twin suns in the distance is, of course, a nostalgic call back to a New Hope when Luke looked out over the sunset and dreamed of adventure and it signals Rey as the new hope for future generations.
In fact, Rey becoming an honorary or adoptive Skywalker is something that the new trilogy set up early on in The Force Awakens. At Maz Kanata’s castle, Rey hears voices from the basement that lead her to Luke’s old lightsaber that he lost during his duel with Darth Vader.
This is the saber that Rey uses through the whole of the trilogy and, as Maz mentioned, it also originally belonged to Anakin Skywalker. Later in The Force Awakens when Rey and Kylo Ren battle for control of the lightsaber, it flies to Rey’s hand, not Kylo’s even though he is a Skywalker via his mother Leia’s bloodline. And Kylo felt entitled to that Skywalker saber because of his heritage.
He eventually gets to wield it in The Rise of Skywalker when Rey passes it to him through their Force Bond after he arrives on Exogol. At that point, he’s given up the identity of Kylo Ren, having turned to the light and become Ben again, making him worthy of wielding the saber.
Rey ultimately defeats the Emperor by combining that legendary lightsaber with Leia’s saber, which symbolizes the passing of the baton from both the Skywalker siblings as well as Rey’s vital connection with them and their crucial impact on her character and journey in this saga.
The way Rey crosses the sabers together in this scene is a moment that visually recalls how Luke and Darth Vader crossed lightsabers as they dueled in front of the Emperor in Return of the Jedi.
And that defensive lightsaber technique which deflects Palpatine’s lightning back to him reminds me of what Yoda once taught Luke. Rey embracing the Skywalker legacy as a title that future Jedi can use and honor also gives meaning to the title of Episode 9, “The Rise of Skywalker”.
And is something that Snoke foresaw in The Force Awakens. And by the way, there’s also precedence in the history of our own galaxy of famous family names becoming titles that future leaders acquire.
The title of “Caesar” that numerous Roman Emperors gave themselves was taken from the most famous man of that name, “Julius Caesar”, even though they weren’t related to him by blood.
The traditional phrase “The king is dead, long live the king!” is another example of this idea of continuity with change and the idea that the “Skywalker” name will now live on through future generations of Jedi.
And that Jedi legacy is what Rey felt when the voices of Jedi past called to her, giving her the strength to finally defeat Palpatine. But what about Rey’s actual bloodline?