The question, “Why does everyone want to go back to Jakku” has become a running joke for Finn, the former trooper known as FN-2187, but in essence, its reference holds a lot more water than a Happabore. Seriously.
Granted, in the beginning, most of us (probably) thought nothing of the one-liner. Still, when you go back to it, you start to realize, hey, this was meant to mean something. Right? Like, for instance, all the jokes and references made about Tatooine in the Original Trilogy.
And what was so special about that dustball of a planet? Well, for starters, it was the home of Luke, and Luke’s Dad, Anakin Skywalker. And not only his home but its distance from the “core worlds” kept him and his Force abilities hidden from the Republic and the Jedi. Well, that is until Qui-Gon Jinn showed up. But, anyways. What’s so special about Jakku?
Battle of Jakku
One year and approximately four days after the Battle of Endor, the final conflict between the Empire and Rebellion took place on Jakku. Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig gives us a detailed description of the events that lead up to and conclude with what is now known as the finale of the Galactic Civil War. So, one could say, Jakku has historical value. But, that’s not all.
The Contingency Plan (Operation Cinder)
Palpatine was a patient man. So patient that for decades before the Battle of Endor he had enlisted a protege named Gallius Rax from the planet Jakku. Who, over time, became a trustee of a well thought out backup plan. Operation Cinder. It was set up to avenge the Emperor if he were to die. In his death, the Emperor would have his revenge on the Empire, punishing them for failing him, and Rax was to see it through. Afterwhich, Rax was to ensure its rebirth in the Unknown Regions of space at the hands of an elected assembly by the Emperor himself.
Before The Force Awakens, Jakku was known for something else. Palpatine first found Gallius Rax on the desert planet and decided to place him as the lookout. Rax’s first test of many to come was to guard the Jakku Observatory. This observatory was meant to keep the Sith Relics and maps to the Unknown Regions safe. It also contained a borehole which led to the planet’s core. Again, you might say, Palpatine had a backup plan for everything.
“The dark can be patient because the slightest drop of rain will cause those seeds to sprout.“- Matthew Stover, Revenge of the Sith novelization.
The Seed of the Jedi Order
The Force Awakens with Rey. In The Last Jedi, Snoke enlightens Kylo Ren and a resistant Rey, “darkness rises and light to meet it,” Snoke unknowingly gives credence to Rey’s place in this story and so much more. Rey is the seed of the Jedi Order. As long as she lives, hope lives in the galaxy. But, to echo a voice from the past, “what has that got to do with anything?” Well, let’s consider this, shall we?
What do we know of Rey so far? Besides her being a scavenger, an excellent pilot, the ability to understand many languages, highly skilled with a staff, and force-sensitive, well, she’s spent most of her life on Jakku. Yes, the butt of jokes from The Force Awakens, “why does everyone want to go back to Jakku?” Hmm, perhaps the answer is in the question.
Another thing to keep in mind, while considering Rey is Kylo Ren’s reaction in The Force Awakens, when he learns about Rey assisting BB-8 to steal a freighter off Jakku. He says, “what girl?” and Force pulls the First Order Officer to his whim. Lest not forget how engrossed Kylo is with his grandfather and everything about him. That said, it’s only logical that Kylo would know about the significance of Jakku to the Empire, seeing that his grandfather, Darth Vader was the Emperor’s Iron Fist. Adding to that, the very first thing Kylo Ren and Rey share during Rey’s Force interrogation is the influence of Darth Vader and his legacy on the impressionable, Kylo Ren.
Ok, dovetailing back, Rey is a scavenger from Jakku and Palpatine hid a Sith Observatory with a lot of vital information, and Sith antiquities there. So, how far fetched is it really to think that Rey may know something that she doesn’t even realize she knows? Or better still, what if whatever she has stumbled upon is what awoke Palpatine after all these years? Think about it, Rey has scavenged that Star Destroyer graveyard for years. Who knows, to what extent, she has dug up or discovered. And would she even know what that something is or means? Rey is, in a sense, a diamond in the rough. Like Aladdin finding the genie in a lamp, only Palpatine isn’t a genie. Quite the contrary. He’s far, far worse than that.
So, why does everyone want to go back to Jakku? Figuratively speaking, of course, because I don’t believe it has anything to do with “going there,” physically. If anything, it has something to do with what has happened there and possibly, Palpatine himself.
That said, I think it’s very plausible that Rey plays a significant role in all of it. After all, at the end of The Last Jedi, Leia takes Rey’s hand as she holds on to what remains of the Skywalker saber and tells her, “we have everything we need.”