(Possible spoilers and/or hair-brained theories ahead.)
Despite the almost universal acclaim and heaps of cash that The Force Awakens has earned, one minor complaint has concerned the similarity of its structure to A New Hope: A hero on a desert planet joins a galactic conflict and, by tapping into an ancient force for the good, saves the day. But what if that’s not the real story? One theory may turn the film’s structure on its head by posing the question: What if Star Wars is building up Rey to become the real villain? The video above compiles, streamlines, and elaborates on theories that have been floated by fans on Reddit, Medium, Mashable, and YouTube.
Think about it. Throughout the original Star Wars films, it takes Luke forever to really master the Force. By the end of A New Hope, he’s just reached the point of being able to trust himself and the Force, and he’s only swung a lightsaber against a training droid. In Empire Strikes Back, he spends months lifting X-Wings and doing backflips under the tutelage of the greatest Jedi master, and still isn’t ready to face Darth Vader. Yoda stresses that while the Light Side of the Force is stronger, learning the ways of the Dark Side is “quicker, easier, more seductive.”
Sound like someone we know? Because it seems to take Rey no time at all to nail enough Force abilities to control a Stormtrooper’s mind to free her. She has great ability, yes, but imagine Luke convincing everyone in Mos Eisley that he didn’t have the droids they were looking for after seeing ol’ Ben Kenobi doing it a few times. Rey hasn’t had any real Jedi training (at least that she can remember), and the first person she starts picking up Force pointers from is Kylo Ren. She watches him and copies what he does, which could point at her tapping into the Dark Side all along. Rey also matches Kylo’s skills on the Starkiller Base, and while he was injured, he was also dead set on killing her. In the movie’s novelization, she even has to ignore a voice in her head that says “kill him” during her battle with Kylo, a voice that she knew was the Dark Side.
Rey follows a similar path of Dark Side acolytes. Her upbringing matches Luke’s but it’s also close to Anakin Skywalker’s. She gives into her rage and anger throughout the film, having never been told that these are Dark Side traits. On the movie poster, her staff even lines up perfectly with Kylo’s red lightsaber, implying that she might be the one holding it in the future.
This theory would squash all those “Mary Sue” objections out there, but more importantly, it gives a concrete explanation for her rapid mastery of the Force and makes an already exceptional entry in the franchise even more complex. The badass heroine we’ve been rooting for could be the next Anakin, seduced by the Dark Side and prey to her emotions. As much as it would pain us to lose the strong Rey as the franchise’s new savior, how impressive would it be to set up the next powerful Sith Lord like this?