This is an off topic post that is almost purely self indulgent. As a lover of story, I have given a lot of thought to the plot of Star Wars and its many moments of brilliance (as well as its problems) since The Force Awakens reawakened my interest in the series. I am of the generation that grew up with Star Wars and it has had a very big influence on my understanding of adventure stories. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my theories about where JJ Abrams/Disney is going with this story. Be advised I have no inside track; this is pure speculation. Thank you in advance for indulging my prognostication.
First, regarding the lineage of Rey: we are told at the beginning of The Force Awakens that Return of the Jedi occurred thirty years prior. The Star Wars universe portrays bloodlines as very important to Force sensitivity. From these facts it can be assumed that one of her ancestors is someone we have met in a previous movie. From her depiction in the movie, I am guessing that Rey is about twenty. Being that she was apparently born ten years after Return of the Jedi, this could be most of the Force sensitive characters in that movie. The most obvious would be Luke Skywalker.
The problem with Luke Skywalker as Rey’s father is that Han and Leia don’t know her, yet she is about the same age as Kylo Ren/Ben Solo. Luke trained Kylo Ren when he was the right age to be trained as a Jedi, so we can presume Luke and Leia had contact with one another after Rey had been born–and yet Leia does not know Rey. Thus, it seems very unlikely that Rey is Luke’s daughter.
So let’s get down to my theory: I predict that Rey is the daughter of Ben Kenobi’s clone, whom I have started calling Boba Kenobi. I recognize that there has never been mention of such a character, but this theory is well within the known facts. First, cloning is a well established science in the Star Wars universe, as the Kaminoans created an entire army of clones. Second, clones can age at a normal rate as Boba Fett did. Third, Ben Kenobi went to the cloning planet, Kamino, various times (only one trip was shown in Attack of the Clones but others were shown in the television series The Clone Wars and were implied in the movies.
If Abrams/Disney chooses to take the story in this direction, then the obvious backstory of this clone is that a genetic sample was taken from Kenobi on one of his visits. Then Ben appeared to be killed when order 66 was issued. Roughly twenty years later, around the time of A New Hope, a Kaminoan took it upon him or herself to try to revive the Jedi by recreating Kenobi. This clone grew up and had a life which included fathering a child, Rey. Something happened that caused him to hide the child on Jakku with the intent of coming back for her, but he never came back. Possibly he is dead or currently imprisoned.
Two events from The Force Awakens support this theory. One is that Rey’s only memory of her family is an island surrounded by water. This may have been an island on Kamino. Also, when Rey touches Luke’s light saber, she hears Ewan McGregor’s voice as well as Alec Guinness’.
There are a couple of reasons I think this would be a good story choice. First, it seems that Abrams enjoys bringing back characters from previous movies, and they could bring back Ewan McGregor to play Boba Kenobi. The other thing that charms me about this idea is that throughout the series there has been an ongoing question as to whether the prophecy referred to the Skywalkers or if it was someone else who would bring balance to the Force. In episodes 1-3, Anakin’s place as the Chosen One is questioned in every movie, but in each case “it is difficult to see”. Throughout all the movies, the character who is the most noble and the most reliable is Kenobi. If there is a Paladin in the Star Wars universe it is Ben Kenobi. He even allowed himself to be killed so that Luke and the others could escape the Death Star.
One question you may be considering: why don’t they just have Ben Kenobi be her dad? Well, first of all he would be too old to be Rey’s father. If Rey was the child of Ben then she would be closer to Luke’s age. The clone theory allows a gap between the original character and the birth of Rey.
Okay, that’s my first theory. My second theory is that Luke is in exile because he believes he will turn evil. He believes this because–wait for it–he is in fact the grandson of Darth Plagueis.
Stated fact number one: Anakin Skywalker appeared to be an immaculate conception per his mother.
Fact number two: Palpatine took fifteen minutes of the Revenge of the Sith to give this exposition:
“Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? It’s a Sith legend. Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith, so powerful and so wise that he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life. He had such a knowledge of the Dark Side that he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying.”
—Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
It is my theory that Plagueis used his powers to create Anakin in a slave woman. Luke has since learned this to be true and now feels the universe is better off without him.
The obvious course of the plot from this reveal would be that Rey helps him come to believe that he controls his own destiny and is not the pawn of his grandfather or his father. Then they can band together and go rescue her father, Boba Kenobi.