The story of Star Wars really harks back to the tale of destiny that has been told for centuries through fairy tales and epic plays. In the original trilogy the story revolved around Luke and his journey as he turned from being just a hopeful farm boy wanting to go an adventure to a powerful Jedi who would then bring peace and order back to the galaxy. His journey was complex and difficult but it all led to a rather satisfying end. For Anakin his journey was reminiscent to Luke’s and the exact opposite at the same time. He was a young slave boy who wanted to travel the galaxy and explore the stars but instead of him becoming a hero like Luke did he became a galactic monster as he transformed into Darth Vader and brought a terrible darkness to the galaxy. Both of these men were central figures in their trilogies and while their humble beginnings were very similar their outcomes were much different. And that’s where I come to Rey.
Rey, like Luke and Anakin, has a nearly identical humble beginning to her incredible journey. She was a scavenger surviving day by day by providing Unkar Plutt mechanical scraps in return for food. She too, like them, wanted to journey beyond the stars and make a better life for herself. She was basically a slave, like Anakin was, and she also came from a sand planet. If you really think about it, it’s kind of odd how much alike Luke, Anakin, and Rey’s stories are.
So yeah, Rey is very much like these two past central characters but, judging from her story in the two movies of her journey so far, what does it look like the end of her journey will entail for her? Well, let’s take a quick look at that journey she’s partaken on.
Throughout the first hour of The Force Awakens Rey was still very much a regular girl who just so happened to be an incredible pilot and mechanic. But when she finds Luke’s lightsaber in Maz Kanata’s castle everything changes for her as she is introduced to the Force in the most frightening and alarming way possible when she endures a vision showcasing a whole lot of stuff that she can’t exactly comprehend. Rey, at this point, is thrust into having to take on the role of someone who the Force has chosen to be the next hero of the galaxy, despite her wanting to or not. She’s downright afraid of the Force at that moment and she really just wants to escape it all and return back to Jakku where she can wait for her parents to return and whisk her away to a much better place.
Long story short, she got captured by Kylo Ren, used the Force to defeat him in a mind battle and escaped her captivity. She then, not long after that, fought Kylo Ren in an epic battle on StarKiller Base where she was nearly defeated but was able to channel the Force which allowed her to beat him.
Then she went and found Luke on Ach-To where she thought he could teach her in the ways of the Force but instead he disappointed her by pushing her away and treating her like she was a nuisance even though all she wanted was some help. He did eventually teach her a couple of lessons but it wasn’t exactly to help her but rather to dissuade her from wanting to bring the Jedi Order back.
She had to face the terrible truth about her parents and how alone she was in the universe, a character development that had been quietly introduced in The Force Awakens but not fully realized until this film.
She ended up finding an “ally” in Kylo Ren as she discovered the truth about his turning to the dark side and she realized that maybe if she helped him order could be restored the galaxy. She went to him to turn him back to the light but that didn’t work because Kylo Ren is, well, evil. They became enemies again, ended up breaking Luke’s lightsaber in half, and then she escaped to go aid the Resistance.
And then she saved the Resistance by stowing them away aboard the Millennium Falcon and it was kind of cool because throughout the large portion of The Last Jedi she had been trying to find a savior for the Resistance in Luke and Kylo Ren but really she was the hero all along. Awesome! With the fragmented lightsaber in hand and her friends by her side her journey at the end of The Last Jedi wasn’t coming to a close but was just the beginning.
So, through both movies, what does her story line tell us about the possibilities of her last chapter in Episode IX? Well, one thing’s for certain, she has had quite the journey. She’s experienced triumph and heartbreak, benevolence, anger, and everything else in between but so did Anakin and Luke. So comparing their stories and hers is she the next chosen one or the next bane of the galaxy?
Well, for starters, Rey is just a good person at heart. From the beginning of The Force Awakens to the end of The Last Jedi she has never once emitted evil, just like Luke in his trilogy. Anakin did not have the same story. In The Phantom Menace he was an innocent child who didn’t have a bad bone in his body but jump forward ten years later and he’s definitely a changed man.
He’s suspicious of the Jedi Order, he’s easily aggravated and whiny, and he has the increasingly disturbing potential of being an evil dude. When his mother died instead of doing the right thing and just closing off his roiling emotions he slaughtered the Tusken Raiders with no hesitation whatsoever in revenge. Um, dark side alert, dark side alert! Anakin had an emotional problem, he couldn’t handle his feelings, and that eventually became his downfall.
Rey isn’t a bad person but is she quick to act on emotion. The Jedi warned against this, for they believed that emotion and companionship led to the dark side as it corrupts the soul and makes people do unthinkable things to get what they want. Now, Rey is supposedly the beginning of the next phase of the Jedi and she doesn’t exactly follow their trains of thought or teachings but those warnings are still valid. And we’ve already seen her go to the dark side to get answers or obtain strength a number of times.
When she bested Kylo Ren for the first time she wriggled into his mind and unveiled his deepest, darkest secret which was his fear of never becoming as powerful as Darth Vader. That’s a total dark side move. When she defeated him in combat on StarKiller Base she used pure rage and anger to win that fight. Um, if that isn’t the use of the dark side I don’t know what is. Then when she had first lesson with Luke she found herself drawn to the dark side there on the island without even trying to resist its seductive pull (which freaked Luke out by the way.)
Then, in a deleted scene, she goes to save the Caretakers from “invaders” which Luke warned her would be something the Jedi wouldn’t have done. But, at that moment, she doesn’t care about the Jedi or their strange ways. She just wants to save the Caretakers and that means she’s willing to channel that anger and rage to go help them, which is a serious precursor to the dark side. And then, to find answers about her parents she returned to that dark side hole where it told her the truth of her heritage as it conveyed to her that she was her own parent and that she was going to have to deal with that fact.
You see, these are five incidents where she chose the dark side without hesitation. Luke never used the dark side to find answers to his questions or the ability to defeat his foes and that’s why he didn’t turn to the dark side. Rey, however, has channeled over and over again the dark side of the Force and that’s very worrying for her final leg of this story because what if she is tempted by the dark side again? What if she was faced with a decision so overwhelming (like Anakin had when he had to choose between standing alongside Mace Windu or saving Palpatine’s life who promised him the power over death) that she ended up falling to the dark side? And what if Kylo Ren somehow reversed sides and turned good? That would be a major shock that I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t see coming.
Now the good thing is Snoke said she had the spirit of a true Jedi which is heartening but will that benevolence in her last or will she eventually convert to the dark side of the Force? I honestly don’t know. I think, as it stands, she’s liable to go either way. On one hand she’s an extraordinarily good person who I can’t even imagine turning evil but then on the other hand she has held hands with the dark side many times and if Anakin is any proof of what happens when you dabble too heavily in the dark side then, well, Rey is going to have quite the tumultuous journey in Episode IX.
What if she did become evil? That would be heartbreaking and exciting at the same time. There have barely been any female villains in Star Wars and if she were to become one it would definitely be OFF THE CHAIN! It would also be sad though to see her turn evil because she’s such an amazing Jedi.
Gosh, I don’t know what’s going to happen in Episode IX because Rian Johnson has left such a ditch in the road that I don’t even know if J.J Abrams will be able to take this trilogy and climb out of it. There’s so much space to work with that I can only theorize on what these two films have provided me rather than give a definitive idea of what to expect in the next movie. All I’m certain about is I’m super excited to see Rey return in Episode IX (I’m sure she’ll be much more powerful and awesome) and I just can’t wait. Thankfully I’ll have movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story to tide me over until then.
I thank you for reading this long post evaluating Rey and what her story so far might mean for her future in Star Wars. It’s been a blast to write and I hope you have a beautiful day. May the Force be with you.