One of the most common and, arguably, accurate criticisms of the new Star Wars trilogy is that it doesn’t seem to be a cohesive narrative. Lucasfilm gave writers and directors J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson free rein to do what they wanted. (They also say that the former ignored the latter’s contributions, but The Rise of Skywalker complemented The Last Jedi perfectly.) One of the problems is that audiences and some professional critics equate being shocked with good storytelling. The final scene is often cited as an example of the film’s “bad” storytelling. Also, that Abrams and company deployed unearned fan service. Yet, The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker shows that Rey Skywalker was the planned ending from the get-go.
Before we go on, indulge me a moment. The idea that the “good writing” ending to a story is one the audience doesn’t “see coming” is incorrect. In fact, if the audience can see the ending coming it’s often the hallmark of good storytelling. It’s like saying that a mystery is poorly written because all the clues pointing to the murderer’s identity are revealed before the ending. In fact, the opposite is considered bad writing. It’s (lovingly) called “a Scooby-Doo ending” by writers. So, that Rey Skywalker was planned to be the ending of Star Wars all along is further evidence that the new trilogy was not as haphazardly constructed as some believe.
The Art of Star Wars Reveals That Rey Skywalker Was Planned From the Beginning
Image via Reddit
The revelation comes thanks to the Star Wars Leaks subreddit, the group who raised money for Adam Driver’s nonprofit. A user posted an image from The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker showing a quote from Lucasfilm story group member Pablo Hidalgo. It’s just a snippet of a larger conversation, and one I hope they eventually release like they did for the Return of the Jedi story conference transcript with Lucas, Spielberg, and Lawrence Kasdan.
“I like the idea that she’s going to be our Skywalker, but she’s not a Skywalker. Then, for our purposes, ‘the Skywalker’ is really a metaphor. It doesn’t have to be something that’s directly connected to blood.”
As mentioned above, this is honestly an ending that fans only half paying attention could figure out. In The Force Awakens there was a lot of Rebellion X-Wing pilot imagery in Rey’s downed AT-AT hovel. The prevailing theory at the time was that she was Luke’s biological daughter. Yet, I recall seeing in fan forums on Reddit and other places on social media even that early on that Rey would adopt the name Skywalker (or, more accurately, that Luke would adopt her). Once they revealed the title for the film, I immediately assumed that she would take on the name. (Or, at least, that instead of being a “Jedi” the “Skywalkers” would become the new order of galactic peacekeepers.)
Why This Was Ultimately the Right Choice
Image via Lucasfilm
Full disclosure, I love Star Wars with ever fiber of my being. I saw the originals at the perfect age, and I am grateful for each new Star Wars thing that comes out. (I vividly remember thinking Star Wars was “over” leaving the theater seeing Return of the Jedi.) Yet, even I know the films aren’t perfect. Personally, I get an uncomfortable chill down my spine each time I think about the Rey Palpatine reveal. Yet, unlike those who were disappointed with The Rise of Skywalker, I absolutely love the ending. And the major point of it is right there in Hidalgo’s comment. What makes a Skywalker “doesn’t have to be something that’s directly connected to blood.”
The idea of bloodlines, including that some are “tainted” dates back millennia. It should be discarded with other backwards ideas of centuries past. I get the same chill down my spine every time I think about Anakin being “the chosen one.” When Luke tosses away his lightsaber at the end of his trilogy, it’s not his blood that makes his father save him from the Emperor. It was something else. So, I am glad that Rey adopting the name Skywalker was the planned ending to the Star Wars saga all along. It shows that to be a “good” person requires a choice. One’s morality is not determined by something as insignificant as your bloodline.
How do you feel about the reveal that Rey Skywalker was planned all along and does this change your opinion of the new Star Wars trilogy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Featured image via Lucasfilm.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.