The end of the “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” left many fans in shock due to its basket of revelations and “WTF?” moments. For one, no one anticipated the Rey and Kylo Ren kiss (you’re either here for it or not). Also, everyone wondered what the hell happened to Rose Tico (aka the Asian Resistance mechanic who had such a good plotline in the second movie) and why she got such a limited screen time.
But none of these could match the shock concerning Rey. It turns out she’s not part of the Skywalker family tree as most fans had speculated in the first place.
In one of the most fever dream-like plot twists in Star Wars, Rey is revealed to be Emperor Palpatine’s granddaughter, conceived by an unnamed Palpatine clone (her father) and mother.
You can imagine the riot that came with this revelation. Since the film was titled “The Rise of Skywalker” and Rey was the protagonist, people expected her to rise and be a Skywalker. She was like a mini version of Luke Skywalker; she even trained under him! So, how is it that Rey’s not part of the Skywalker family tree?
Star Wars family trees aren’t as intricate or crazy as the family trees in Game of Thrones. There was always ONE family that mattered: the Skywalker family. Descended from a woman named Shmi Skywalker, the family involves members who are strong in the Force. The most notable names in Star Wars — whether good or bad— are part of the Skywalker family.
So for someone like Rey to not be part of that family, it can be surprising, if not shocking. But don’t worry. For one, Rey took on the Skywalker name anyway. And second, the Skywalker family tree is crazy as it is.
The Origins of the Skywalker Family Tree
Thousands of years before the Skywalkers came into existence, Jedi Master Q’Anilia had a Force vision. In the vision, he saw Anakin Skywalker as Darth Vader. Also included in the vision were Vader’s son Luke and his descendant Cade. In another unknown time period, the Heinsake Cult also foretold the Skywalkers overthrowing both the Empire and the Jedi Order, which would leave the galaxy in eternal chaos.
The story of the Skywalkers began with Shmi Skywalker, the matriarch of the Skywalker family tree. She conceived her son Anakin by the will of the Force. During her pregnancy, Shmi would not admit that her son was conceived without a father but she couldn’t explain it either. Despite the odd circumstances of her pregnancy, Shmi accepted her situation and gave birth to Anakin in 41.9 BY. She raised her son on Tatooine.
An ancient Jedi mystic foresaw the birth of the Chosen One, aka the person who would bring ultimate balance to the Force. According to the prophecy, the Chosen One would be born without a father and Anakin Skywalker fit the bill. Plus his strength in the Force manifested since his birth. His cells contained over twenty-thousand midi-chlorians, which made him the only life form that had the highest mid-chlorian count.
Despite being slaves to Gardulla the Hutt crime Lord, Anakin was always a selfless child. He eagerly offered his assistance without expecting rewards in return. His good nature made Shmi proud of her son, although she was concerned with his podracing fascination. Apart from being a gifted engineer, Anakin strength in the Force manifested by his visions; he could see things before they happened. As a result, his future Jedi training benefited from his heightend reflexes.
A fateful encounter with Qui-Gon Jinn set things in motion. In 32 BBY, Naboo was invaded, which forced Queen Padmé Amidala to evacuate with Jinn. Together with C3PO, the queen and the Jedi ended up hiding on Tatooine while making repairs to their starship. They first met Anakin at Watto’s junkyard where the young boy invited the refugees to take shelter in their home.
It was Anakin who suggested entering his custom-built podracer in the Boonta Eve Classic. According to him, the winnings would be enough to purchase the parts needed for the starship. At the same time, Jinn was intrigued by the young boy’s connection to the Force. When he learned about Anakin’s high midi-chlorian count, he thought of him as the Chosen One.
Anakin won the Boonta Eve Classic and as a result, he won the money AND his freedom. Determined to become a Jedi, Anakin was eager to leave with Qui-Gon Jinn but was hesitant to leave his mother. Shmi, on the other hand, encouraged her son to pursue his dreams and never look back. The young Skywalker promised his mother that he’d come back to free her. When Anakin left, Shmi stayed on Tatooine as a slave until Cliegg Lars, a moisture farmer, bought her freedom and married her.
Forbidden Love is the Root of It All
Ten years after the events of “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” Anakin reunites with Padmé Amidala. Anakin, now a Jedi Padawan, was assigned to protect Senator Amidala. During his assignment, the Jedi Padawan realized that his child-like fascination with the former queen of Naboo had turned into love. Initially, Amidala was hesitant to return his affections, knowing that pursuing a romance with the Jedi could lead to his exile from the Jedi Code and her resignation from the Senate. But after a series of hair-raising adventures together, she started to return his affection.
When Anakin sensed his mother’s death, the Senator accompanied him to Tatooine. There, they discovered that Anakin had a half-brother named Owen Lars by his mother’s husband, Cliegg. During their visit, they also discovered that Shmi was kidnapped, tortured and killed by a Tusken Tribe. Out of rage, Anakin slaughtered the entire village as revenge for his mother’s death. His actions horrified Amidala but she stayed by his side nonetheless.
Despite the consequences of pursuing a relationship with each other, Anakin and Amidala married in secret during the Clone Wars. Their marriage, romantic as it was, had no chill in the years to come.
Luke and Leia: Born in the Middle of Chaos
Three years after their marriage, Amidala was pregnant with twins. During this time, she and Anakin barely saw each other since they kept their union a secret. But when Anakin returned to her, she informed him of her pregnancy, causing them joy despite the consequences that can happen in case the Council finds out.
However, Anakin had a dream that his wife would die in childbirth, which drove him to the Dark Side. His pursuit of power to protect his loved ones caused him to go dark, slaughter many Jedis and incapacitate Amidala on Mustafar. His mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi put a stop to his rampage by severely wounding him and leaving him to die on the bank of a lava river. He also tried to save Amidala but Anakin’s turn to the dark side caused the Senator to lose her will to live.
Anakin’s vision came to life when Amidala died after giving birth to her children, Luke and Leia Skywalker. To protect the children from their Sith of a father, Kenobi separated the twins. He gave Luke to his father’s step-brother while Leia was raised by the Royal Family of Alderaan. Each Skywalker twin would follow the path of their parents: Luke grew up a respected Jedi and Leia became a young senator.
The Skywalker Family Tree Via the Twins
After the redemption and death of Darth Vader, the Skywalker twins pursued their different paths in the Force. They also ended up marrying and raising their families. Now, there are two versions of the Skywalker family tree: the film trilogies and the Expanded Universe.
In both the Expanded Universe and the films, Leia married Han Solo. The differences between the two versions lie in their kids. In the Expanded Universe, Han and Leia have three children: the twins Jacen and Jaina Solo and the youngest, Anakin Solo. Anakin Solo was 17 years old when he played an important role during the Yuuzhan Vong War. He led a Myrkr strike team to end the voxyn but ended up sacrificing himself in the process.
The twins Jaina and Jacen each had different destinies. Jacen, impacted by the wars and his brother’s death, turned to the Dark Side like his grandfather. During the difficult days of the second Galactic war, Jacen Solo betrayed the Jedi for the sake of his daughter with Tenel Ka Djo, Allana. Unfortunately, his descent to the Dark Side ultimately caused his death at the hands of his twin sister, Jaina.
After the death of her brother, Jaina Solo married co-pilot Jagged Fel. There is no record if they had children.
In the movies, Han and Leia only had one child and that was Ben Solo, aka the misunderstood yet loved character that is Kylo Ren. His characterization is similar to Jacen, except Kylo never married. He died when he gave his life force to Rey.
Luke Skywalker also has a different family tree in the films and the Expanded Universe. In the films, he had no kids or a wife. In the EU, he married the former Hand of the Sith, Mara Jade. The couple had a child named Ben Skywalker, named after Luke’s first mentor Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi.
The Skywalker family line would then stretch to brothers Kol and Nat Skywalker. Kol’s son Cade was the last surviving member of the Skywalker family tree.
Rey being a Palpatine might have been a shocker to fans but with all the twists involved in the Skywalker family tree, no one’s surprised at Sith grandfathers or fathers anymore. It’s not as crazy as the Game of Thrones families but still controversial. That’s one of the allures of the Star Wars universe, after all — crazy family trees, Sith dads and kissing brothers and sisters.