STAR WARS: Rey Rises in Episode IX

As we’ve previously noted, loss has always been a key thematic element in Star Wars: the deaths of Own and Beru Lars; the destruction of Alderaan; Anakin losing his mother; Jyn Erso and the crew of Rogue One… all of these tragedies have spurred others on to self-realization, growth, and action. So how will Rey draw upon her own losses in the effort to resist the First Order?

Rey

Rey’s story is steeped in loss. First she struggles with denial over the fact that her parents will never return. Then she finds a father figure to fill that void, only to see him murdered before her very eyes. The wise old Jedi who was to teach her the ways of the Force? That didn’t pan out so well, either. And we know, sadly, that she’ll lose Leia, too.

Fans have accused the character of being a “Mary Sue”, too good at everything without effort. I’m not so sure. We haven’t seen a lot of Rey’s back story on film, but we know she’s already a skilled pilot, can hold her own in hand to hand combat, and is a mechanical savant. Those skills needed to be learned, whether self-taught or otherwise. The fact we didn’t see it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Her innate ability with the Force is wherein the true question of her role in Episode IX rests. As Yoda noted in The Last Jedi when describing the ancient Jedi texts: “wisdom they held, but that library contained nothing that the girl Rey does not already possess.” Something tells me though, that those texts will come into play as Rey develops her skills.

Further, the likelihood of an episodic Star Wars film without a lightsaber duel of some sort is next to nil. Rey must either repair the Anakin/Luke blue blade, or fashion her own as Luke did in a deleted Return of the Jedi scene. And she’s still going to need instruction on how to do so.

 

The rumor mills are already churning out speculation that Luke will teach her as Force ghost. Frankly, I’m okay with that. As much as Finn needs to step up and Poe needs to mature in order to lead the Resistance, Rey needs to evolve and prove Luke wrong: It’s not time for the Jedi to end, it’s time for the Jedi to begin anew.

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