This year’s Star Wars Celebration was full of surprises. We got a video message from George Lucas on the Phantom Menace panel, a new droid revealed at the Episode IX panel, and of course, the return of everyone’s favorite tragedy teller: Emperor Sheev Palpatine. With the audio appearance of Darth Sidious came fan speculation about how exactly Sheev could be back – in the form of a Force ghost, or actually alive. With it came chatter on another hot topic: Rey’s parentage.
Director J.J. Abrams commented on the status of that question to ABC, saying “I don’t want to say that what happens in Episode 8 [didn’t happen]. We have honored that. But I will say that there’s more to the story than you’ve seen”. While this was explained fully in The Last Jedi, it seems that now anything is possible for Rey’s family. So we’re looking to the old Star Wars Extended Universe to back up a theory: that Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter.
This isn’t exactly a new theory. When The Force Awakens came out, fans were quick to point out similarities in Rey and Palpatine’s lightsaber fighting style. However, this theory seemed somewhat debunked after The Last Jedi‘s resolution.
With Palpatine back in the picture, there’s one particular series of stories in Star Wars‘ past that may provide new evidence to this theory. In the early 1990s, a series of young adult novels called the “Jedi Prince” detailed the events of the Rebellion following Return of the Jedi. These six books featured Luke, Han, and Leia taking on new Imperial threats. The main character, however, was a 12-year-old boy named Ken, who grew up in a lost city on Yavin 4. Ken’s guardians were droids, and grew up learning the stories of the Rebel Alliance and idolized Luke and Han. Sound familiar?
Ken ended up joining the Rebels, had a variety of Force abilities, and eventually underwent Jedi training with Luke Skywalker. Ken learns he is actually the son of the mutant Triclops and a Jedi princess named Kendalina. (See: the sixth book, Prophets of the Dark Side.) Still with me? Triclops, not Trioculus, was the secret son of one Emperor Palpatine, which makes Ken his grandson. Ken Palpatine. Let that sink in for a second.
So how does this connect to Rey, especially with what we know about her parents? Well, judging from J.J.’s comments, it seems like he wants to keep the parental revelation the same. So by giving Rey a legacy grandparent, he could still leave Rey’s parents as nobodies. Maybe Palpatine had a son or daughter he didn’t want to acknowledge, like the aforementioned Triclops. As we know from the new canon’s Aftermath trilogy, Palpatine also had an awareness of Jakku. He commissioned an observatory there as part of his contingency plan. Perhaps we’ll find out that Sheev made a trip to Jakku, had a one night stand, and then peaced out for good.
Rey and Ken share a few similarities. Both grew up virtually alone, raised on the legend of Luke Skywalker and his adventures. Both had untapped Force abilities that they harnessed when trained by Luke. Ken is extremely gifted at Jedi mind tricks; this is also one of the earliest powers Rey channeled in The Force Awakens. Ken found out the truth about his heritage late in his book series – could Rey find out there’s more to her family in The Rise of Skywalker?
It’s a pretty far-fetched theory, but like we said – anything is possible. Also, giving Rey meaningful lineage would undo one of the biggest themes of The Last Jedi: that anyone can be a hero, no matter where or who they come from. It’ll be interesting to see how exactly J.J. handles all of this, and we’re curious to see if he’ll pull from any of Star Wars‘ past.
Could Rey be a secret Palpatine? And which is a worse name: Kevan Lannister or Ken Palpatine?