As we approach the debut of The Last Jedi, and may get an answer to Rey’s parentage, I thought I’d look back on the great reveal about Luke’s father, and how we reacted to that news.
Nineteen-Eighty was a great year. We finally got a sequel to Star Wars! But wait, the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, was called Episode 5! We’d missed three movies? 2 - 3 - 4? Where were they? Oh wait, Star Wars was actually episode 4? When do we get to see episodes 1-3? Yeah, well, when they finally came, we learned to live with the disappointment.
But back to 1980, we were more critical, more cynical (already!) and harder on things like the effects errors that we saw on screen than we had been three years earlier. But what engaged us most in post-viewing discussion was the burning question: Was Darth Vader really Luke’s father?
All George Lucas would say in 1980 was that we have seen Luke’s father, without confirming or denying Vader’s claim to paternity. SO we didn’t take Vader’s claim that he was Luke’s father at face value.
We had a number of theories. One that most of us agreed on was that R2 was force sensitive.The exact "why’s" for this reasoning escape me now, as in the first film, R2 got stunned by Jawas, and his head blown off by some generic TIE fighter pilot. But back the to my teenaged brain, it made sense.
In The Empire Strikes Back (ESB to the fans), we learn that the identity of Luke’s father is an important issue in the story. We wouldn’t have a definitive answer for the next three years. In the mean time, we talked, and talked, and talked. Many of my friends were sure that it was in fact Obi-Wan.
I had a different theory. It was Boba Fett. My whole theory rested on a very quick scene and two specific ideas. The scene, on the cloud city of Bespin, where Luke sees Fett carting a frozen Han away, contains the only interactions between Fett and Luke in the movie. Boba Fett, we are told, is a feared bounty hunter and gunman. He shoots at Luke — multiple times — and misses! When Luke tries to return fire, R2 interferes.
Why and why?
Why does Boba Fett miss? Because he knows that Luke is his son (but why then allow him to walk into Vader’s trap? Yeah, I know. I was young. Logic was new to me). Why does R2 stop Luke from shooting? Because R2 knows that Boba Fett is Luke’s father.
Well, alternate answers would be that a) Fett’s reputation exceeds his abilities and it’s damn hard to see out of that helmet, and; b) R2’s a jerk (we saw more of that in the prequel trilogy when it came out. I was glad he sat out most of The Force Awakens).
So, what about Rey? Hopefully she’s not Luke’s child, nor Leia’s. It’d be nice if the Star Wars story universe was as diverse as the Star Wars galaxy appears to be, and she’s a new blood line (I’m still mad the Chewie fought beside Yoda in episode 3, but agreed with Han that the Jedi were just a myth in episode 4).
What are your thoughts? Should Rey be a Skywalker? Should we care? Should I get a life?