Who is Rey? “I’m no one.”

Who is Rey truly? That is the question on everyone’s mind since seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As a fan base we want to know more about her and by extension Daisy Ridley, the actress who portrays her of course. Is she just this lonely scavenger destined for great things or is she a Skywalker whose story has been written since Anakin chose the Dark Side? As fandom we are left to speculate.

Thanks to Greg Rucka’s book however, Before the Awakening, we get a better insight on who Rey is or at least what her life was like before that faithful meeting of a tiny BB-8 droid.

Rucka’s book portrays Rey as a strong independent young girl thrown into a life not many would willingly choose. She stays committed to herself and trusts no one. Because if she has learned anything in her young years, it’s that if you don’t look out for yourself no one else will. She is made tough by the sands of Jakku but she endures, and she waits.

Rey is strong, independent, self efficient, self reliant, and heroic. But something on Jakku holds her back.

Throughout Before the Awakening Rey is faced with trials that set her story in motion for The Force Awakens. She is hopeful and yet defeated in Rucka’s book. But it doesn’t overcome her. She carries on and remains hopeful that something out there beyond the horizon of Jakku awaits her. Like Luke and Anakin before her something does, but she will have to sacrifice a piece of herself to pursue it.

As Rey makes these new bonds with Finn and BB-8, she slowly begins to give a little of herself to them. Rey trusts them. For BB-8 at least, she feels a need to help this little droid make its way back to the resistance base in fulfillment of their mission. But with Finn, there seems to be an uneasy natural bond between the two. Granted their relationship didn’t begin on the best of terms but as they travel the galaxy together a union is born. The two seem to find what they have always wanted in each other; someone to care for and someone to care for them.

It’s not until Rey meets Han Solo that she is faced with the feeling of having someone to look up to, to idolize, to respect, and perhaps something of a father figure. She has heard of him, the smuggler Han Solo who made the Kessel Run in 14, or rather 12 parsecs. She is a fan and he is her idol. In Han, Rey seems to be able to trust him. Maybe because there is this mutual respect for the Millennium Falcon and therefore the art of flying her. Or maybe because Han sees something in her he saw in his own son or perhaps himself. That air that boils to top of one’s personality when faced with adversity. In the scene where Han offers the blaster to Rey it’s almost as if it is a token of his affection and appreciation. Something one can only get from a father.

Rey is special. Han, Finn, and even Maz Kanata know it. The real question is does she? It’s the moment when she looks over to the old woman cleaning her salvage that she can see her destined future if she doesn’t bring about change. It’s the same realization when she receives the calling to Luke’s lightsaber. There is something more to her destiny. She just needs to reach out and accept it.

It is the past relationships that Rey encountered that made her tough and independent. But it’s these new relationships she has made that are proving to be everything she has been waiting for on Jakku. She is forging a family, not by blood but by choice. She is putting hope in others that she’ll know will have her back and be there for her. Even if that means infiltrating a giant mechanized moon planet set to destroy the New Republic.  Her new family will come back for her. After all, that’s all she’s ever waited for. And in response to all of this she reaches for Luke’s lightsaber and takes up her density as a force wielder in defense of her new found family.

This is where her story truly begins.

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