February 25, 2016

Hard To See, Rey’s Parentage and Snoke’s Identity Are

Sam Lurie ‘18
As Disney and Lucasfilm count the billions they are making on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” many fans are theorizing about the film’s many unanswered questions. Two of the films most prominent mysteries are the identities of Rey’s parents and that of the new villain, Supreme Leader Snoke.
I surveyed 15 “Star Wars” fans at Golda Och Academy on their ideas regarding these two questions. Please be aware that the remainder of this piece features major spoilers for the film.
On the issue of Rey’s parentage, the majority of those surveyed believed that Rey is the daughter of the original trilogy’s hero, Luke Skywalker. Among the reasons to support this particular theory is that it would be inconsistent to make “Star Wars” movies that are not about the Skywalker family. In addition, Luke’s facial expression at the end of the film appears as if he recognizes Rey. This idea is further bolstered with the official script stating that Luke “doesn’t need to ask who she is or what she is doing here.”
Another popular theory is that Rey is the granddaughter of Luke’s former master, and one of the heroes of the prequel trilogy, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Those surveyed said that we, the audience have no idea what has happened with Obi-Wan in between “Episode III” – the final episode of the prequel trilogy – and “Episode IV” – the first episode of the original trilogy – leaving room for the Jedi master to establish a family. They also mentioned how the scenes of Rey sneaking around Starkiller base are reminiscent of Obi-Wan sneaking around the Death Star in “Episode IV.”
One student brought up an interesting point regarding Rey’s accent. British actress Daisy Ridley, who portrays Rey, clearly speaks with her accent throughout the movie; however, John Boyega, who plays Finn, who is also British, speaks with an American accent. Ridley’s accent then must be significant, thereby tying her with another prominent figure with a British accent, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Less popular answers were Rey being unrelated to anyone audiences already know, being Han Solo and General (Princess) Leia’s daughter – thereby making her the sister of villain Kylo Ren – and Rey as a daughter or granddaughter to Emperor Palpatine. One rationale that was provided to support the Emperor theory noted that both Rey and the Emperor are obviously very strong in the force and Rey’s potential relationship to the Emperor would parallel Luke’s relationship to Darth Vader, the famous antagonist of the original trilogy.
As for Snoke’s identity, the two most popular answers were that Snoke is a completely new character or that Snoke is, in reality, Darth Plagueis. For the casual fan, Darth Plagueis is only briefly mentioned in “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” and was the Sith Lord who trained and was later killed by Darth Sidious, who masqueraded as Emperor Palpatine and was ultimately responsible for corrupting Anakin Skywalker and turning him into his apprentice, Darth Vader.
As to why they chose Plagueis, students answered that both Plagueis and Snoke are obviously evil and Snoke appears to have many scars, something he could have received from his encounter with Palpatine. As to how Plagueis might have survived, students pointed out that in “Episode III,” Palpatine says Plagueis was able to create life and prevent loved ones from dying.
Another unusual point was raised concerning this Darth Plagueis theory. Snoke’s theme in the soundtrack is almost identical to that which plays during the Darth Plagueis scene in “Episode III,” a track titled “Palpatine’s Teachings.” This would not be the first time that John Williams has placed a hidden message in his music.
During the last scene of “Episode I,” the upbeat, celebratory music titled “Augie’s Great Municipal Band” plays. However, if one slows the track down, one can see that it is really the Emperor’s theme played in a major key. This is a symbol that the real victory at the end of “Episode I” is not that of the citizens of Naboo, but that of Palpatine, as his plan for galactic domination is set into place.
A few students also said that Plagueis could be Palpatine himself. Also, taking from the idea that Siths can manipulate life, they say that Plaptaine may have survived his apparent death in “Episode VI.” Another says that Snoke could be a clone of Palpatine. This notion of Palpatine clones is widely explored in the “Star Wars Expanded Universe,” or “Star Wars Legends,” which is no longer considered canon.
One last interesting theory from students is that Snoke may be Jar Jar Binks. This idea came from a very popular internet fan theory that Jar Jar is a secret Sith Lord. As far as we know, Jar Jar is still alive, and if he is indeed a Sith, it would make perfect sense for him to be attempting to gain control.

While many may not be able to wait, these questions will probably remain unanswered until the release of “Episode VIII” in December 2017. Until then, let us hope that the force is strong in our patience.

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