Ever since Disney merged with Lucasfilm and started creating new Star Wars content, everyone wanted to know WHO the new characters were and WHO they were related to, if at all. Namely, Rey, portrayed by Daisy Ridley. Rey has been a center point for the majority of the fandom and just like Maz Kanata, everyone wants to know, “Who’s the girl?”
Ambiguity. Yes, that’s part of Star Wars‘ magic. The lure. It keeps us guessing even after forty years! Amazing, right? That same attribute is still going strong and is prominently present in the new films. That says a lot about the creatives working on these stories. I mean, if fans are still trying to piece together a story that has been evolving for forty plus years, that’s saying something. Even with Rey. Yes, regardless of what Kylo Ren told us about Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, fans are still wanting to know “Who’s the girl?”
So, who is she? Who are Rey’s people? Does she even have people? Well, perhaps we need to pay a bit more attention to the story. Not just the stories about Rey, but the entire story. Sometimes the answers that have been bugging us for a long time turn up in the most unlikely places. “The answers you seek never come when the mind is busy, they come when the mind is still when silence speaks loudest.” – Leon Brown.
Like when you’re engrossed in a movie. Say, for instance, Solo: A Star Wars Story. Perhaps, Maz Kanata was wrong? I mean, the belonging we sought after wasn’t ahead, it was behind. Ok, maybe not. That would be more of a point of view, but you get my meaning. The point here is Solo: A Star Wars Story connected Rey to Han Solo. So, buckle up, baby and let’s not get cocky. Well, at least wait until after you’ve finished reading this article and then you can go about your business.
So, I bet you’re wondering how does Solo: A Star Wars Story connects Rey to the greatest smuggler of all time, right? Well, alright then, let’s get to it. Now, before I begin, let me reiterate the word “connect.” Not related, as in relation or relative. Got it? Ok, moving along then.
We meet Han (again) for the first time since Star Wars: A New Hope in the latest addition to the galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Han is hot-wiring a speeder and like Rey, knows his stuff. He’s quick under pressure and can pretty much pilot anything, gets out of jams and all of this without a blaster. See where I’m going with this? Am I generalizing here? Maybe, but I’m just getting started.
Next, is the name game. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey introduces herself as, well, “Rey.” Just Rey, like “Cher.” Yup, no surname. Guess what, kids? We learn in Solo: A Star Wars Story that Han is just “Han,” no last name. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I think this only begins to open Han up to a connection with Rey when they first meet in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Let’s face it, Han is enthralled by Rey from the moment he meets her. Besides the similarity in names, or rather, lack thereof, Rey knows her way around a ship. Like a YT-1300f light freighter, Han’s Millennium Falcon. Someone like this would never go unnoticed by Han. Not just Han, but Chewie too. He too can be seen watching Rey intently.
Another intriguing connection these two characters share is that both have a driving devotion to “get back” home. And here I thought that was just a running joke for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I mean, anyone who came across Rey and heard her mention getting back home to Jakku responded the same, “Jakku?” Again, I, like many others (I’m sure) thought this was a theme for episode VII. Like Luke says in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jakku is pretty much nowhere. I rest my case.
Yes, Han like Rey wants to go back home. Her to Jakku and him to Corellia. Both for two different reasons, but still, the similarity is there. I have to admit when I first heard Han tell Beckett he had to get back to Corellia and that he had been gone too long already, my mouth dropped to the floor. Stunned with the commonality, I said to myself, “Rey.” And then it hit me, like a ton of bricks. It all started to make sense. The dots were connecting and the all the stars in the galaxy far, far away were beginning to align. Han and Rey were one-and-the-same on so many levels.
So, so far we have name connections and the urge to go home, but that’s not all. Nope. Young Han wants so badly to get back to Corellia and find Qi’ra, the girl he left behind that he’s willing to do anything to make that happen. So he takes a job by joining Beckett’s crew in hopes to make enough money to buy a ship home. During the deal, Beckett tosses Han a blaster, but not before making sure he’s ready for the challenge. Yes, Han gets his first job and blaster from his mentor, Beckett. Well, well, well, looks like history tends to repeat itself. Dovetailing back to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Han makes a similar offer to Rey and even gives her a blaster. It’s at this precise moment that these two scenes solidify a bond between two characters that will forever change the way I look at Star Wars relationships going forward.
Han’s vulnerability and Rey’s naivety are refreshing to watch as it evolves. Even after Beckett told Han, “assume everyone will betray you and you’ll never be disappointed,” he goes against the grain and opens up to Rey. You can easily chalk-it-up and say that Han saw something in Rey, sure. But, after seeing both films and comparing the scenes that parallel one another, it becomes apparent that Han didn’t just see something in Rey, he saw himself. The sad part is, he didn’t see it in Ben.