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After a second viewing of The Force Awakens, I noticed there are a number of scenes that cut away after one character or another asks a question about who Rey is, which made me wonder who, if anyone, knows (or seems to know) her origin, lineage, or history.

Do any of the characters recognize Rey or know of her origin, or is everyone as in the dark as the audience? Does Rey know her own origin?

For example, on Jakku,

Rey tells BB-8 that her origin, like his mission, is also "classified"

and later on Takodana,

Maz Kanata asks Han Solo who Rey is, followed by a cut. In the following scene, after Rey's lightsaber-induced vision, Maz comes down to find her and tells her that Rey "already knows the truth" that her family won't return, but that Luke Skywalker might.

and

During Kylo Ren's first tantrum, when the First Order official mentions "a girl" with Finn and BB-8 it makes Kylo Ren totally flip out, force-choking/dragging the official across the room in order to ask, "What girl?" followed by another cut.

Finally, if

Han does know her origin, and mentioned it to Leia offscreen, then that might explain Leia's reaction to Rey at their first meeting.

  • 5
    Good observations! Wasn't there also a scene when Kylo explains his failure to read Rey to Snoke, where they seem to expect Snoke to be angry, but instead he asks done pertinent questions about Rey then asks her to be bought to him? At the time I thought that looked like he had a theory about who she is (also, I suspect it means Kylo didn't have specific suspicious about who she is, else he'd have shared them to spare his own shame) – user568458 Dec 26 '15 at 0:11
  • Yeah, I wasn't sure how to include it in the question but Snoke is another character who seems to have a stronger reaction than you'd expect to the mention of "a girl." – dunraven Dec 26 '15 at 0:24
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UPDATE 2017/12: TLJ material - SPOILER ALERT!

Well, TLJ came and brought about even more conclusion.

TL;DR: Kylo Ren claimed to know Rey's parentage - "the daughter of Jakku junk traders who sold her off for drinking money". The film's director claimed that Kylo Ren was stating his true belief (and not just lying to Rey); but also phrased it in a way which makes it seem he may have been wrong, even if he sincerely shipped that particular fan theory.

First up is that moment that defied all fanboy speculation, where Kylo Ren reveals that Rey is neither a Skywalker, a Solo or even a Kenobi… she’s nothing. Specifically, the daughter of Jakku junk traders who sold her off for drinking money.

“I can’t speak to what they’re going to do,” said Johnson of what J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio are cooking up in their script for Episode IX. “And there’s always, in these movies, a question of a certain point of view. But for me, in that moment, Kylo believes it’s the truth. I don’t think he’s purely playing chess. I think that’s what he saw when they touched fingers and that’s what he believes. And when he tells her that in that moment, she believes it… The easiest thing for Rey and the audience to hear is, ‘Oh yeah, you’re so-and-so’s daughter.’ That would be wish fulfillment and instantly hand her a place in this story on a silver platter. The hardest thing for her is to hear she’s not going to get that easy answer. Not only that, but Kylo is going to use the fact that you don’t get that answer to try and weaken you so you have to lean on him. You’re going to have to find the strength to stand on your own two feet and define yourself in this story.”

(source: EW interview with Rian Johnson)


The only ones who are HINTED at MAYBE knowing her origin are:

  1. Maz Kanata (for reasons your question already lists)

    UPDATE: Maz definitely doesn't know who 19-YO Rey is in practice.

    When Rey shows up, the WGA script has Maz asking Han (after she talks about Finn's running-eyes):

    MAZ: Who's the girl?

    This could still mean she knows Rey's origins but doesn't recognize the 19-year-old Rey on sight, so I'm keeping Maz in the "MAYBE" list.

  2. Luke (only in that there's a whole bunch of anvilicious hints meant to lead everyone to believe he is her father)

  3. Unkar Plutt knows something about her. However, given the way he treats her both as a scavenger and Falcon thief, I'd say he doesn't think she's someone special or her parents are someone important.

    From WGA script, we know he was who she was left with on Jakku in her flashbacks:

    A little girl. Rey as a child. She is sobbing, hysterical. Unkar Plutt's meaty hand holds her thin arm. She is on Jakku, watching a starship fly into the sky, abandoning her.
    YOUNG GIRL
    No, come back!

NOBODY ELSE knows, and novelization explicitly disproves it.

  • BB-8: He doesn't know who she is. He asks her name. And clarifies for surname.

    “In the morning,” she said firmly, “you go.” A responsive beep acknowledged her decision. “Fine, you’re welcome.” Another beeping, which made her laugh. “Yes, there’s a lot of sand here. Beebee-Ate? Okay. Hello, Beebee-Ate. My name is Rey. No, just Rey.

  • And when she says to BB-8 that her origin is "classified", she's being smart-alec, because BB-8 just beeped at her that his mission is "classified".

    “He’s just a Teedo. A local. Not so unlike me, really.” Her expression twisted. “Except this one was particularly impolite. Wanted you for parts.” Leaning forward slightly, she studied the top of the droid’s head. “Your antenna’s bent.” As she examined the scored markings on her softly beeping new acquaintance, her interest continued to deepen. “Where’d you come from?”
    The droid beeped a reply. Pursing her lips, Rey shook her head.
    “I don’t know what that means.” A string of beeps followed. This time, she smiled. “Oh. Classified. Really? Well, me too. Big secret.” Rising, she started back toward her dwelling. “I’ll keep mine and you can keep yours.”

  • Han explicitly is shown to wonder who the girl is (in a narrator's voce, meaning it wasn't Han dissembling):

    Han nodded knowingly. “I can relate to that. What halfwit puts a compressor on an ignition line?”
    She nodded in agreement. “I thought it was a mistake, too. Puts too much stress on the hyperdrive flow.”
    “…Stress on the hyperdrive flow,” Han echoed, reaching the same conclusion at the same time. For an instant he looked puzzled and just a tad curious. Who was this girl, who spoke so knowledgeably of flow rates and ignition pressures? His curiosity didn’t last long. Too many other matters of greater consequence were on his mind.

  • Same with Kylo Ren. Here's what happened when he mind-read her for the first time:

    Surprised by what he was finding, Ren lowered his hand. Relieved of the mental intrusion, she sucked in great, long draughts of air. His brows drew together and a reluctance to believe his own findings colored his comments.
    Is it true, then? You’re nothing special after all? You’re just a—Jakku scavenger?

  • Supreme Leader Snoke doesn't seem to know either.

    There was as much curiosity in Supreme Leader Snoke’s voice as there was disappointment. “This scavenger—this girl—resisted you?”
    That’s all she is, yes. A scavenger from that inconsequential Jakku. Completely untrained, but strong with the Force. Stronger than she knows.” His mask off, Ren replied with what seemed to be his usual assurance. No one else would have sensed a difference. Snoke did.

    and we know he didn't know who she was, because later he changed his mind about her - based on what she did!

    “You will leave Starkiller at once and come to me with Kylo Ren. Leave immediately.” He added grimly, “It appears that he may have been right about the girl.”


There is a remote, remote, possibility that there's a shadow of a doubt of a hint that Leia knows her. I strongly disagree but honesty compels me to include the following 2 quotes:

  • When Leia meets Rey for the first time, it does NOT say that Leia didn't recognize Rey (nor that she recognized her on sight).

    Following in the Wookiee’s wake, an exhausted Rey found herself greeted by a cheering crowd. Leia Organa was in the forefront, accompanied by a pair of droids. Rey recognized BB-8 immediately, and wondered at the identity of the gleaming golden protocol droid at his side. Instinctively, she headed toward Leia.
    No general now, Leia took the young girl’s face in her hands. Though brokenhearted at the deaths of Han and so many brave pilots, Leia was grateful for the deliverance of the Resistance. In spite of the presence of the crowd that was looking on, the two women embraced without embarrassment or hesitation. Then, with tears falling, they moved inside.

  • However, when Leia sends her off to find Luke, something very weird is going on, with the wording seemingly hinting at strong parallels between Rey and Kylo Ren.

    Standing at the foot of the ramp, an uncertain and uneasy Leia found herself fiddling with the seals on the front of the jacket Rey was wearing. Foolish nonsense, she told herself even as she continued. Unworthy of her status and position. But it felt so right, and so natural, to be doing so. “I’m proud of what you’re about to do,” she told the girl.
    Rey replied in all seriousness. “But you’re also afraid. In sending me away, you’re—reminded.
    Leia straightened. “You won’t share the fate of our son.”
    “I know what we’re doing is right. This is how it has to be. This is how it should be.”
    Leia smiled gently, reassuringly. “I know it, too. May the Force be with you.”

    Now, this doesn't prove anything. But it's curious.

  • Does Rey know? Or Snoke? And if Maz knows why would she ask Han? What information could Han give her that would clarify it for her, and why wouldn't she tell him? – dunraven Dec 26 '15 at 1:17
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    Right she'd be his granddaughter just like Kylo Ren is Vader's grandson. Such symmetry! – dunraven Dec 26 '15 at 3:11
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    FWIW, I don’t want to make another edit for just this but “anvilicious hints” confused me enough that even with the link I think it might be better to be parenthetical about the meaning like this “anvilicious (heavy handed) hints.” – JakeGould Dec 26 '15 at 3:32
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    @JanusBahsJacquet - you need to brush up on your knowledge of real life and history. Women hook up to all sorts of men who have power. Potato-faced Bill Clinton was a chick magnet and a sex symbol. Let's not even start on Mick Jagger's looks. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 28 '15 at 3:25
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    Palpatine also has the whole mind-control thing going on too. He was powerful and immoral enough to do whatever he wanted either through guile, threats, or direct control (both physical or mental). If he wanted children, he'd get them as long as his, err, personal equipment functioned. – Ellesedil Dec 28 '15 at 19:24
9

We can’t know for sure who knows who Rey is. But I believe that the only two people we can say who actually might know or absolutely knows are Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker. Let me explain:

Many people believe that the following characters: Han Solo, Leia Organa and Maz Kanata know who Rey is. But I do not believe this.

  1. There is nothing in the script or in the novelization that shows, implies or tells us Han knows Rey

    Whatever theory you are riding on, we all can say Han has only a vague description when it comes to Rey. He probably knows just as much as we, the audience, do. There are five scenes that occur upon which fans have taken to prove that Han knows who Rey is, but let me break it down:

    SCENE ONE

    Han and Rey first meet and this scene is where they finish each other’s sentences on the hyperdrive. Here is the scene from the official script:

    REY: Unkar Plutt did. I thought it was a mistake too, puts too much stress on

    THE HYPERDRIVE–

    HAN (OVERLAPPING HER): –Stress on the hyperdrive– (Who is She? Then:) Chewie, throw ‘em in a pod. We’ll drop them at the nearest inhabited planet.

    NOTE: Han does NOT know who Rey is. He is asking the same question the audience is at this point: Who is she? He is impressed with her knowledge of mechanics and flying, but that is all we can really say about this scene.

    SCENE TWO

    This scene is where Han is flying to Takodana and this is Rey’s first time seeing another planet other than Jakku:

    Han pilots. Finn and BB-8 beside him, Rey as co-pilot. Han notices Rey looking out the windshield, almost in tears.

    REY (QUIETLY): ....I didn’t know there was this much green in the whole galaxy.... Han watches her–sees a vulnerability that touches him

    NOTE: This means he sympathizes with Rey. Maybe she has similar traits that remind Han of a certain friend: an eager, young, and excited individual that never left their home planet before.

    SCENE THREE

    Han offers Rey a job. Many fans take this scene as Han wanting to protect Rey because he knows of her parentage. But here is the scene:

    HAN: ....You got a lot to learn. You got a name?

    REY: Rey.

    HAN: Rey. I’ve been thinking about bringing on some more crew, Rey. A second mate. Someone who can keep up with Chewie and me, appreciates the Falcon.

    REY: Are you offering me a job?

    HAN: I wouldn’t be nice to you. It doesn’t pay much.

    REY: You’re offering me a job.

    HAN: I’m thinking about it. Rey wants to say yes. But something stops her. A line she can’t cross.

    HAN: Well?

    REY: If you were, I’d be flattered. But I have to get back home.

    Han looks at her, questioningly

    HAN: Jakku? Rey looks off, in thought. Yeah, Jakku.

    REY: I’ve already been away too long

    NOTE: My take on this scene is this: This scene and the dialogue between these two characters is suppose to tell Han the basics of Rey: she is waiting for somebody on Jakku. Han is given a clear implication that Rey is afraid to leave because of this fact. He is just fond of Rey and finds her useful onboard the Falcon, hence why he is asking her to join his crew.

    The next two scenes deal with the “information” that Han has told Maz Kanata and how much Maz knows about Rey.

    SCENE FOUR

    HAN: Keep it, kid. Finn heads off. Rey gets up to follow. Maz dials her lenses back to normal, and turns to Han.

    MAZ: Who’s the girl?

    NOTE: As the camera pans away to Rey and Finn after Maz asks this question, fans assume Han told Maz everything about Rey. But from the few scenes with Rey and Han, there is no information or clear implication that Han absolutely knows who Rey is. He only knows she wants to get back to Jakku quickly. Han probably just told Maz, “She’s some girl we picked up from Jakku. Name’s Rey. She is in hurry to get back, probably waiting for somebody who just isn’t coming back.” All this scene is suppose to tell us is that Rey’s identity is important.

    SCENE FIVE

    Let’s go to the conversation with Maz and Rey.

    MAZ: Han told me (reaches out, holds REY’S HAND) Dear child, I see your eyes. You already know the truth. WHOMEVER you are waiting for on Jakku, they are never coming back. But…there’s someone who still could.

    REY: Luke.

    MAZ: The belonging you seek is not behind you. It is ahead....

    NOTE: This is not a confirmation that Rey is not the daughter of Luke. She could be anybody’s child. But many people forget Luke is in no position to get her either: He is a wanted man in exile who would be killed if found. This is how we know that Maz does not know who Rey is waiting for, based on what Han told her. Maz is vague in her description which proves that Han wasn’t very detailed in his information.

    Han even told Leia about Rey. If you re-watch TFA you’ll notice when Finn is telling Leia about Rey being kidnapped, Leia answers him with “Han told me about the girl. I’m so sorry.” However, J.J. Abrams confirmed that when Rey and Leia hug at the end of the film, Leia STILL does not know who Rey is!!

"But this moment, I think, is actually lovely and the idea that these two women who'd never met knew of each other, and they're both Force-strong and they're both bound by their loss and their strength."

This can only mean that Han did not know who Rey was and again, only told Leia the basics: “We met Rey, a girl on Jakku who was kidnapped by our son.”

But compare this to Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren:

1. Kylo Ren and Rey

In the novelization, when Rey and Kylo Ren first meet, Ren notices something interesting about her but cannot figure it out:

The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster, p199

…Narrowing his gaze and his focus, he locked eyes with her. She met his stare without trying to look away. She should have looked away. It would have been the rational thing to do. The sane thing to do. Instead, she just glared, trying not not to flinch, not to blink. ‘Ah,’ he thought to himself, ‘Something there, of interest.’ Not the image of the map. That would take another moment. But definitely something worth investigating. He shifted his perception towards it, seeking to identify, to analyze, to—the barrier he encountered stopped him cold. And it was he, Kylo Ren, who blinked. It made no sense. He pushed hard, with his mind–and the probe went nowhere…"

The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster, p250,

…Taken aback, he whirled–to see the weapon land in the hand of a girl standing by a tree. Rey appeared equally shocked that her reach for the device had exceeded his. She gazed down at the weapon now resting in her grip. “It is you,” Ren murmured. His words unsettled her: Not for the first time, he seemed to know more about her than she did herself…

In the script and film, it is implied that Kylo Ren knows Rey, here are three lines that I take note of from the script:

  1. KYLO REN: Anything else?

    Mitaka hates to say the following, but:

    LIEUTENANT MITAKA: The two were accompanied by a girl.

    Ren reaches out–Mitaka is suddenly, violently pulled towards Ren, into his black glove:

    REN: What girl?

  2. KYLO REN: She’s just beginning to test her powers. The longer it takes to find her, the more dangerous she becomes.

  3. KYLO REN:

    She’s strong with the Force, untrained but, stronger than she knows.

    And while Ren’s mind no doubt goes to Luke:

2. Luke Skywalker and Rey

The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster, p260,

…some distance from her, at the periphery of the forest, stood a figure shrouded in a simple cloak and robe.It did not matter that it was facing away from her. She knew instantly who it was. Yet all she could do was stare in silence. Whether motivated by her stare or by something unknown, the figure finally turned toward her and pulled back his hood. Luke Skywalker. His hair and beard were white and his countenance haunted. He did not speak nor did she…

Official Script:

REY stares, knowing exactly who it is. But she just stares for what seems to be forever. Until he turns, slowly, to her. Pulls back his hood.

IT IS LUKE SKYWALKER.

Older now, white hair, bearded. He looks at Rey. A kindness in his eyes, but there’s something tortured too. He doesn’t need to ask her who she is, or what she is doing here. His look says it all.

Notice the difference between Han asking himself, “Who is she?” And Luke not having to “ask who she is.” Therefore, it is safe to assume that for sure, only Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker know Rey’s identity; and that Ren meet (or heard) of Rey through Luke.

  • NIce, well-written answer! I added some quote blocks to the stuff that seemed to be quotes from scripts and novelizations. – Adamant Oct 17 '16 at 22:25
  • I hope you stay around and write more answers as detailed as this. – Adamant Oct 17 '16 at 22:25
  • @Adamant Thank you – Annoymous101 Oct 17 '16 at 22:57
  • I don't think the Luke connection is a strong as you think. He knows that she's a jedi potential, not her actual identity – Valorum Feb 9 '18 at 8:42
2

This isn't a full answer by any means but I did want to link to this article by Eric Geller on The Daily Dot (posted Dec. 22) about new information from the novelization that has a different interpretation of Ren's reaction to Rey:

8) Kylo recognizes Rey

The novelization, unlike the movie, emphasizes Kylo's quest to figure out who Rey is. He can't believe that she's just a random scavenger. When she retrieves Luke's lightsaber with the Force to commence their duel, he mutters to himself, "It is you."

This disturbs Rey, who observes to herself that Kylo "seemed to know more about her than she did about herself."

Rey's lineage is perhaps the most feverishly discussed aspect of this new Star Wars era. Kylo's recognition of her suggests that they have met before, although it's not clear where or when. Some fans think that she's Luke's daughter, and that she was with her father when Kylo, then Luke's student, betrayed him and slaughtered the other students.

  • Did you read the ACTUAL quote about Kylo Ren and rey in my answer? I think the Daily Dot guy interpreted the situation 100% wrong. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 28 '15 at 19:29
  • @DVK I did, but this came from a different, later scene and I assume anything in quotations in the article is verbatim from the novelization. If other interpretations are possible that seems helpful to know. It does seem to reinforce the idea that Rey is unaware of her own origin. – dunraven Dec 28 '15 at 19:41
  • @DVK combining your quote and the first in the article, there's a reading of Ren thinking she's someone, reading her mind and being shocked that she's "just a scavenger," and then confirming his original theory at the moment she beats him to the Lightsaber. – dunraven Dec 28 '15 at 19:43
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    there's a much simpler explanation. He thinks she's SOMEONE because she helped BB-8 escape - on a bloody Millenium Falcon. He expected her to be someone... meaningful, based on that. That's why he's so surprised when she turns out to be a nobody from Bupkis, North Desert. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 28 '15 at 19:45
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    @DVK if LOST taught us anything, JJ Abrams is not a fan of simple. But +1 for Occam's Lightsaber – dunraven Dec 28 '15 at 19:46

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