Overall, I think there is much to like about The Last Jedi. As I detailed in a previous post, Rian Johnson made sure that each main character in The Last Jedi changed or grew in some way by the end of the film. It’s a common refrain that good movies focus like a laser on character development, and so Rian Johnson deserves some serious credit for not losing sight of the characters. However, while a somewhat rare criticism, I feel that Rian Johnson focused on specific character arcs at the expense of the overall political plot of the sequel trilogy. There is hardly any politics at all in The Last Jedi (and The Force Awakens), and what is there is just a retread of the original trilogy’s politics.
The number of theories about who Rey’s parents are is endless: Luke, Han and Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Emperor Palpatine, Supreme Leader Snoke, Jyn Erso, Ezra Bridger, and Iden Versio are just a few names that have been suggested. Rey is incredibly powerful in The Force Awakens, and so it’s logical that she must be the daughter of someone equally as mighty, right? To the contrary, I believe that Rey’s parents are neither force-sensitive nor important characters from the past canon. The Force did awaken in Rey in Episode 7, but I think that was due to her natural God-given (or, Force-given in this case) abilities, rather than her ancestral genes. The evidence for my claim comes from comments made by Daisy Ridley and Rian Johnson, as well the fact that Rey and Kylo are mirrors for each other thematically in the sequel trilogy.
A common belief among many in the Star Wars fandom is that Kylo Ren knew Rey before The Force Awakens. Some argue that he was the one that left Rey on Jakku; some argue that he trained with Rey at Luke’s Jedi Academy; and others simply say that Kylo had never met Rey before The Force Awakens, but knew of her from a force vision or from word of mouth. Evidence for these claims include the fact that Kylo freaks out at the mention of “a girl” in the Force Awakens movie (“What girl?”), and that he says “it is you” after Rey force pulls Anakin’s lightsaber in The Force Awakens novelization. However, the common wisdom is wrong. Kylo Ren has never met or heard of Rey before The Force Awakens.
The question of why Lor San Tekka was on Jakku is an important one, as it might provide clues about Rey’s history. Since San Tekka was an ally of Luke Skywalker, perhaps Luke sent him to Jakku to watch over Rey, much like Obi-Wan watched over Luke on Tatooine. If this is true, then that would imply that either Luke was the person who left Rey on Jakku, or that he at least knew she was there. However, I believe Lor San Tekka was not sent to Jakku by Luke to watch over Rey, but was there for a different purpose altogether.
The new Star Wars comic book series about Darth Vader may provide clues about Luke in The Last Jedi. In the comic, Darth Vader comes across a Jedi that survived Order 66. The Jedi, named Kirak Infil’a, has taken something called the “Barash vow.” The vow is described as follows: