There have been as many theories about Rey’s vision as maybe anything stemming from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That’s really saying something, considering that you have all the Rey parentage and Snoke theories flying around out there.
I bet this website has had at least five or six posts done about the vision. But for the longest time, I’ve had trouble figuring out what the vision meant and if I like it as a stylistic option for the movie. I think the vision truly having a greater meaning and actually making sense someday (hopefully after VIII or IX) is what will determine whether I end up liking it being a part of the movie.
Well you might say, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen at least glimpses of a vision in a Star Wars movie, so what’s the big deal about having a vision here. That’s true, you hear about two visions and we see another one. Two involve Anakin and the other Luke.
What makes Rey’s vision unique is that first of all it is triggered by an inanimate object. I can’t stress this point enough. Yes, powerful Force users have wielded this weapon, so maybe there is something to that. Maybe they have left some sort of Force aura behind and imprinted it on the saber itself. I like this idea more than what was presented on Star Wars: Rebels where a holocron can show you destiny; seemingly slight differences but I think there is a world of difference.
The other thing that is interesting about Rey’s vision is that it has the other aspect of seeing visions in the Force that Yoda talks about in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
“Through the Force, things you will see. Other places. The future…the past. Old friends long gone.” -Yoda
Luke’s vision was of the future when he saw Han Solo and Princess Leia in pain. Anakin Skywalker probably felt some sort of combination of the present and future in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, when he felt his mother in pain and he was seeing a possible future of Padme dying in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. But we’ve never seen the past. Friends long gone? Sure, but not actual visions of the past.
Rey’s vision is littered with past events, but what makes it even more interesting, is that not all of the vision takes place in the past. Whether it is what we are seeing or what we are hearing, there are things we can place in either the future or the past. In a few cases I believe it is open to debate when the events take place.
But regardless of when or where theses images and audio cues take place, the Skywalker lightsaber can be tied to a large percentage of actually be present, even in the case of a future event. That is the basis of this theory and begs the question, just how exactly would the Force be imprinted on the lightsaber to trigger this vision for Rey.
Below I have listed by visual and audio from the vision and placed it into what I think is an accurate category listing as we can get right now. I have colored the events where we know the Skywalker lightsaber was present in blue.
As you can see, all of the audio cues from the past had the Skywalker lightsaber present. We also know it was on Bespin, as that is where the lightsaber was lost.
I’ve also highlighted the future scene of Kylo Ren on Starkiller base. We know the lightsaber eventually turns up there and this is showing Rey, a somewhat inaccurate glimpse of what the future holds where she fights Kylo Ren with the Skywalker lightsaber. I say inaccurate because Kylo Ren is in the snowy forest with his helmet on in the vision. Obviously things don’t transpire this way exactly. So you can either write this off as a movie technicality because they were not ready at that point in the movie to reveal Kylo Ren’s face or you can reference another Yoda line, “Always in motion, the future is.”
Maybe the Kenobi line, “Rey?” should be moved to the debatable category since it sounds more like Alec Guinness than Ewan McGregor, but I don’t recall Guinness uttering the name Rey in the Original Trilogy. If this line is ever muttered, one would have to think that it is a future event, where Rey would most likely still be in possession of the Skywalker weapon.
The line that we know McGregor says, “These are your first steps,” definitely has a familiar ring to it. Obi-Wan Kenobi says, “You’ve taken your first steps into a larger world,” to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: A New Hope, where the saber was definitely present. But the line is slightly altered here and the fact that two different actors say the words puts this one, in my book, as one of the more confusing aspects of the vision. If you wanted to use Alec’s voice, use it here and Ewan could have said “Rey?”. They are differentiating between a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi’s voice and an older. Seems slightly problematic to me if they ever do what to bring McGregor in for a larger role as a Force Ghost in the sequels. I don’t really get the reasoning, because he would be “old” Ben Kenobi, as we last saw him but he’d still sound like McGregor, because, well it is McGregor. But let’s say this line is said to Rey, or maybe it is said to her right in that moment and it is Kenobi talking to her and not really a part of the vision, you can highlight this one in blue, because yet again, the Skywalker lightsaber is there. Confusing, right?
My other debatable placing of a moment in the vision is the ominous, Knights of Ren. I know a lot of people assume this would be a moment of the past, because they connect it with Kylo Ren destroying Luke’s Jedi Academy. While that is certainly a plausible theory and one that I can’t debunk, I’m not sold. This could be another vision of the future when Rey is confronted by the Knights of Ren. I can’t explain the man Kylo Ren kills in the vision but as I’ve already pointed out earlier, the vision may not always be 100% accurate in its details, whether those inaccuracies are deliberate, is another argument. But if this is a vision of the future and Rey is involved, highlight it in blue, because she would have the Skywalker lightsaber. If it is the past then we can’t rule out completely that the Skywalker saber wouldn’t be there in some fashion or another either.
So right now everything I’ve gone over, you can find a way to place the Skywalker lightsaber, physically there when these events occur, if you just use a little imagination. Sometimes we know one-hundred percent, without a doubt it is there, other times it is debatable, if not actually somewhat plausible.
Now here are the scenes that can throw this theory right down the garbage chute into the trash compactor. Because now we go from ‘plausible’ to really stretching it to make sure the lightsaber is everywhere we can see and hear.
Luke and R2-D2, in what most people assume is a moment of the past. Going on that, is it possible that Luke or R2-D2 were actually in possession, once again, of the Skywalker lightsaber in this scene? Well, anything is possible obviously. Perhaps the lightsaber had been found years prior and Luke handed it down to his nephew and after he turned, he somehow disarmed Kylo Ren and took it back? Sure, sounds possible, it also sounds very convoluted. What seems more likely is, to make this theory work here, is that Luke somewhere along the line came back into ownership of the lightsaber and was using it himself up until the time his academy was destroyed and he passed it along and either by choice or chance, Maz Kanata came into possession of it afterwards. Again, it seems flimsy at best but I’m going with it for the sake of this theory.
Lastly we come to young Rey being dropped off on Jakku and left with the horrendous Unkar Plutt. Who, what, when, how, and why Rey is being left is a whole other topic we don’t have time for in this blog but there is no way the lightsaber is here, is it? Well, I guess that depends on who is dropping her off. If for some reason it was Luke, which is an unpopular idea, simply because it seems very cruel for Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master, to leave a young girl, no matter his relation or no relation, in the hands of Unkar Plutt who’s only about one step higher on the totem pole than a slaver. But tying it into the theory, if over the years Luke had come back into possession of the family heirloom and he is the one dropping off Rey, then you could also highlight this in blue on my list and you could place the lightsaber throughout the entire vision. I’m sure there are several other crazy examples I could dream up (I even had one where the saber was left with Unkar to give to Rey when she was old enough but he sold it and Maz acquires it) to make these parts of the vision work for this theory but the moment it starts sounding too convoluted and confusing, I tend to step away.
If somehow this theory is true, I think it safely makes the vision being triggered by the lightsaber make a lot of sense. Unless the lightsaber was somehow tampered with and and Rey’s magic touch unlocked the secrets that were placed within by someone (see what I mean by convoluted?). That’s why I feel like the saber just being present for all these events and being around powerful Force users throughout the years better explains why the vision is able to occur.
This is obviously just a fun theory and I’m not trying to hard sell it to you as some kind of gospel like many other fan theories do, to present it as absolute truth. Just as we do on the podcast, we try to make ourselves and others think. Hopefully that constructs an interesting dialogue. So feel free to poke holes in this theory but I feel like I’ve pointed out where it is weakest. What might be more interesting however, is to brainstorm and come up with some more ideas how to tie in, especially the last two moments I discuss about the vision, and how they physically place the Skywalker lightsaber in the presence of the events we see.