Star Wars Episode VII is often accused of paralleling Episode IV too closely. But it seems to me that Rey’s journey in Episode VII actually more closely parallels the journey of a character in another (less well respected) episode of the Star Wars saga. Further, the parallel will make sense of the fact that everything seems to go so easily for Rey in the movie.
Rey’s journey parallels Anakin’s journey in Episode I more closely than it parallels Luke’s journey in Episode IV. Okay, so Rey’s journey starts out on a desert planet, where Rey is less than content with her life situation. Rey even has her own twin sun moment (check out this podcast from loading ready run for a discussion of this moment and other interesting aspects of the movie) in the moment where she stares at the incredibly old woman cleaning parts and realizes she has to get out of there.
But she doesn’t lose her family. She has a murky, confusing relationship with her family which is keeping her on the desert planet. This situation doesn’t change, and she must consciously give up her last connection to her family in order to leave on her adventure. But the thing really keeping her from leaving the planet isn’t just a family situation. She’s a slave. This is exactly the situation with Anakin Skywalker. It is, at the very least, much closer to Anakin Skywalker’s situation in Episode I than to Luke Skywalker’s in Episode IV.
Let’s look at a few other parts of the Reys’ journey. Luke is partially trained by Obi Wan Kenobi, but Anakin and Rey get no force training and are thrust into crucial situations in the struggle against the big weapon of destruction held by the enemy with no force training at all.
Nevertheless Anakin/Rey just succeed and succeed with little struggle (presumably due to their being incredibly strong in the force). In many ways their journeys for the episode end when they find a trainer, whereas Luke’s journey for the episode is all struggle and ends when his trainer dies.
Now, all this is to ignore the fact that the journeys of all three protagonists closely parallel each other in many ways. But I think that a close look makes it clear that Rey’s story in Episode VII is a self-conscious parallel of Anakin’s journey in Episode I. What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below.
Check back every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for new content.
Peace be with you.