In the movie The Force Awakens, Rey, who was just a scavenger on the remote desert planet of Jakku and who was left there at the age of 5, seems to know about Luke Skywalker, the force, the Jedi and their presumed extermination.

How does she know so much about the previous goings on in the previous movies, growing up as a loner on a remote planet?

Note: I am aware its easy to speculate that "she overheard" conversations and learned from travelers coming to Jakku, but Im looking for cannon evidence showing that she picked up information this way or any other way that proves how she would know about things so specific.

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    She had a rebel pilot doll in her room - reasonable to think she either brought it with her or made it. This would imply some knowledge being given to her. Additionally - perhaps this book coming in April will give more details from her perspective: makingstarwars.net/2016/01/… – NKCampbell Jan 6 '16 at 20:41
  • I don't know if this question can be answered in a meaningful way until the next couple of movies. Abrams is intentionally leaving Rey's past a mystery for down the road. So while we could speculate, the second or third movie could make that obsolete with a single scene. – joshbirk Jan 6 '16 at 21:07
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    @joshbirk - Or we could, y'know, answer it right now... – Valorum Jan 6 '16 at 21:17
  • @Richard, commented below. I think this answer is pretty broad and vague. The latter movies will undoubtably provide a clearer answer. – joshbirk Jan 6 '16 at 21:27
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    @NathanK.Campbell - scifi.stackexchange.com/a/112861/20774 – Valorum Jan 6 '16 at 21:41

Rey has evidently heard myths and legends about the Jedi from childhood. The factbook Rey's Survival Guide mentions that on several occasions she's traveled to the "Sacred Villages" near to Nima Outpost and that

One village believes in the Force and the legends of the old Jedi sorcerers

In the absence of any actual Jedi, I think we can assume that she thought that these are simply stories but that doesn't mean that she didn't take in the information. Given her own abilities, it may also have been that she found some personal resonance with these myths.

Within the film's official novelisation, there's a pretty solid explanation of what young children are taught about the Jedi (in the preface) and specifically about Luke:

Legends told that they possessed abilities beyond the ordinary, including powers of the mind, of invisible strength, of foresight and wisdom. But as wise as they were, the Jedi were not wise enough to see the evil within their beloved Republic. Those whom the Jedi had trusted as friends and allies betrayed and murdered them.


Though the losses piled up and victory seemed impossible, these rebels did not surrender. They found hope in the heroics of a young man named Luke Skywalker. By learning the way of the Jedi, he helped bring an end to the tyranny.

Within the main novel, we get some insight into what the understanding of the average person is:

“Apparently he’s carrying a map that leads to Luke Skywalker, and everyone’s insane to get their hands on it.”
I thought Luke Skywalker was just a myth.


“There have been all kinds of rumors and stories,” Han said. “The people who knew him the best think he went looking for the first Jedi Temple.” Rey looked stunned. “The Jedi were real?

“I used to wonder that myself. A bunch of mumbo jumbo, I thought. Some magical power holding together good and evil, light and dark.” Han shook his head and smiled. “Crazy thing is, it’s all real. The Jedi, the Force, it’s…true. It’s all true.”

Finn’s brain hurt. His conception of the universe was falling apart. Did the Jedi and the Force actually exist? Had the First Order lied about them, too? Finn doubted a smuggler as seasoned as Han Solo would believe in such myths unless he had seen hard proof that they were real.

You may also want to note that according to the novelisations for the prequel trilogy, the Jedi weren't simply a mythical society but a well-integrated part of the Galactic Republic. Obi-Wan and Anakin were apparently household names on Coruscant and throughout the Republic.

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    Yes, but this doesn't answer specifically how Rey learned of such things and especially on a remote planet like Jakku. That's why I think this question will be better served when we know key things about her past. This basically just boils down to "people kinda remember who the Jedi were in general". – joshbirk Jan 6 '16 at 21:26
  • @joshbirk - She lives in a small village and is surrounded by other humans. I think it's reasonable to imagine that they chat about recent history and the Jedi and the Rebellion, etc. – Valorum Jan 6 '16 at 21:27
  • I can't believe you missed "The Force doesn't work like that!" – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 6 '16 at 21:32
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    But the question specifically asks for more than just speculation about overheard conversations. "She heard it through the grapevine" is just a baseline assumption. We know she has a rebel pilot doll in her room and a rebel pilot helmet she hasn't traded for food yet. It's possible when she was 5 she was hearing stories first hand from a rebel pilot. But we won't know that until we have more material. – joshbirk Jan 6 '16 at 21:34
  • @joshbirk - I don't doubt that we'll be able to flesh this out in future. That doesn't mean we can't answer it now. – Valorum Jan 6 '16 at 21:40

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