Star Wars has spanned many generations, but nothing in Star Wars has caused more of an uproar than the impact of Rey on the canon universe. (This article will have spoilers for all the films)
Everything that is now considered canon is all the films, the TV series (Star Wars: Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars), any Star Wars comics published under Marvel, and the novels starting with A New Dawn.
The quality and impact each of those properties has on the larger Star Wars canon can be debated. However, nothing was as earth-shattering as when Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2014 and the announcement of a new sequel trilogy.
When the new trilogy came out, everyone was excited. It sparked the debate about how the prequel trilogy wasn’t as bad as everyone said at first. The new trilogy began by introducing a new triumvirate: Finn, Poe Dameron, and, most importantly, Rey.
It can be argued that Poe was just a new version of Han Solo. Meanwhile, Finn seemed like the new Leia. Most of all, Kylo Ren acts as the new Darth Vader while Rey operates as the new Luke Skywalker. However, they were all much more than that.
The new trio was the introduction to a new generation. A generation that was on the brink of the #MeToo movement, of gender equality, and a new belief that people can choose their own destiny.
Now, this comes full circle to ask again, what is the lasting impact of Rey on the Star Wars Universe?
Impact Of Rey: Gender Doesn’t Equate StrengthGoing into the new trilogy, the impact of Rey was not present so there wasn’t a lot related to strong women in the major Star Wars canon. There was pretty much been one female Jedi that everyone was aware of: Ahsoka Tano.
She was one of the main stars of the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, operating as the padawan of Anakin Skywalker.
Before the sequel trilogy, there were plenty of strong female characters: Leia and Padme being two fan favorites.
However, there were no overly powerful females when it came to the Force. This caused many people, like myself and my older brother, to think that females couldn’t be Jedi. That was until Ahsoka was revealed to us.
Then again, there were many people like my brother, that never saw the animated shows or anything outside of the big films.
The sequel trilogy proves this wrong two-fold, especially the final film, The Rise of Skywalker.
Rey’s first demonstration of the Force shows how powerful she is naturally. She is almost overpowered, which made a lot of fans pretty upset about her existence. Many people critiqued her for being too strong and a boring character that was created to be too strong just because she was a female and the main character.
The thing is, the impact of Rey wasn’t that she was the first female Jedi. This was just a reinforcement that gender or sex didn’t matter when it comes to Force sensitivity. This is evident because Leia is, technically, a Jedi. She was trained by Luke, but she is nowhere near as strong as Rey in combat or Force abilities.
Yet neither is Luke. Proving that gender and sex does not equate strength.
You Can Always Choose Your PathPossibly my favorite thing that Rey happened in the latest movie The Rise of Skywalker.
Rey didn’t let her lineage define her.
This is especially relevant today where there is so much politicization of people’s heritage. There is a lot of people in pop culture and politics right now that are saying your personal identity is entirely based on where you come from.
Rey said no to this idea. Keep in mind, her grandfather is Emperor Palpatine, Darth Sidious himself.
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The reveal was as impactful as Darth Vader telling Luke he was his dad.
Rey, who is only ever identified as “Rey” without any known last name. This changes when it is revealed that Rey is Emperor Palpatine’s granddaughter, so we naturally have Rey Palpatine.
The impact of Rey isn’t that she is the granddaughter of the most powerful Sith in history. Rather, she didn’t let that dictate her path. Rey becomes her own person and even defeats the Sith actually.
The final scene of The Rise of Skywalker shows this better than any other. Rey comes back to Tatooine, where it all started for Luke and it is here where she is asked who she is. Rey says, “I’m Rey.” The lady asks, “Rey who?” She replies, “Rey Skywalker.”
That means she rejected her bloodline and chose the path she wanted instead. She honors her choice of a family instead of the one she was born into.
It was kind of cheesy to hear Rey do that, yet it was a perfect ending to the Skywalker parts of the Star Wars universe. Essentially, the Skywalker bloodline might be gone but Rey honors them going forward. She could have chosen the surname connected to the evilest being known to the universe. Instead, she chose the most heroic as a surname.
She Helped Anakin Bring Balance To The ForceAs we know, Anakin Skywalker never truly brought balance to the Force.
It was believed he did at first by giving the Jedi the upper hand by becoming a Jedi at first.
The theory George Lucas puts forth himself is that Anakin is the Chosen One. The Sith are evil and unnatural. The Jedi are a representation of the light side of the Force, which is natural.
This is why Anakin was believed to have brought balance initially.
First, he was good, then theoretically brought balance in a literal sense by carrying out Order 66. Of course, this order ended up killing most of the Jedi. However, a few still survived such as Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, but the Jedi were truly beaten by this. Yet in spite of the survival of others, Kenobi and Yoda were the two most prominent Jedi remaining…which played a big role.
The unnatural balance here is that there were then two Sith, Darth Vader & Darth Sidious. At the same time, we have two Jedi, Obi-Wan & Yoda.
To Achieve True Balance The Sith Must Be DefeatedWe eventually find out that Snoke was pulling the strings of Darth Sidious. Anakin escaped the Sith’s hold on him, removing Darth Vader from his life, allowing him to come back to the light and kill Sidious as well as himself. However, there was still a major Sith in the existence of Snoke.
Episode IIX: The Last Jedi tried to balance things out more by killing Snoke. Interestingly, it was Anakin’s grandson that did the deed.
Then Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker showed us that Darth Sidious never actually died. He was the one behind Kylo Ren being such an evil ruler himself. To bring balance, Kylo had to follow Vader’s redemption arc and rejoin the light side of the Force.
Rey killing off the Sith brought balance to the Force once and for all. She was a product of Luke and Leia’s teachings. Luke and Leia are literally of Anakin. They are not born of Darth Vader as Anakin died to become Vader. Meanwhile, Vader died to give life back to Anakin.
In combat, Rey kills Kylo Ren. Due to her healing power, she saved Ren’s vessel, Ben Solo. With Kylo gone, Ben is freed of the Sith influence on him. Ben Solo, now one with the light, gives his own life to save Rey from her grandfather. This gives her the chance to end Darth Sidious for good.
This completed the cycle and brought balance to the Force.
If it wasn’t for Rey, Darth Sidious would have survived and Kylo Ren would exist instead of Ben Solo. All while Snoke hid in the background the whole time.
Without Rey, the promise of Anakin wouldn’t have been fulfilled. In essence, she truly is a Skywalker. That, everyone, is the true impact of Rey on the Star Wars Universe.