Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker finally reveals the truth about Rey - and here’s her full story. Star Wars is a generational saga, and each generation has its own champion. The prequel trilogy is best understood as the age of Anakin Skywalker, the original trilogy allows his son Luke Skywalker to stand tall, and the sequel trilogy is really all about Rey.

The sequels chart Rey’s hero’s journey, from unlikely hero who resists the call to adventure to the embodiment of all the Jedi. Along the way, she must face the truth of her own heritage, and accept that blood isn’t everything - not even in a galaxy dominated by the Skywalker and Palpatine lineages. Fundamentally, Rey’s is a message of hope, that the darkness can indeed be overcome by the light; even if the darkness you’re fighting is a part of you.

So here’s everything you need to know about the woman who now calls herself Rey Skywalker; her history, her powers, her heritage, and her future.

Rey Is The Granddaughter Of Emperor Palpatine

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker reveals that Rey is the granddaughter of Sheev Palpatine, the Naboo politician who was secretly a Dark Lord of the Sith, and who brought about the collapse of the Old Republic and the birth of the Empire. The precise family history is unclear; the film establishes that Palpatine had a son, but it’s unknown whether the relationship predated his conquest of the galaxy, or whether he sired a child with a member of the Imperial Court or even a member of some harem he ran. It seems reasonable to assume the son was not born out of love, but rather because Palpatine was experimenting with the Midi-chlorians, perhaps attempting to create a potential vessel for him to possess as he would ultimately attempt to do Rey.

Whatever the case may be, it seems Emperor Palpatine’s son rejected his father and the Imperial philosophy, because he met and fell in love with a woman, and abandoned the life of prestige in order to live in the galaxy’s shadows. According to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the couple lived the lives of nobodies, becoming what Kylo Ren described as “filthy junk traders.” He also saw glimpses in Rey’s memories that suggested they were drunks, perhaps a coping strategy to deal with difficult memories of the Imperial Court.

Rey’s Parents Left Her On Jakku To Protect Her From Palpatine

It seems that Rey’s parents knew Palpatine had survived his apparent death at the end of Return of the Jedi, and they became aware he was looking for their daughter. As a result, they hid Rey away on the junkyard planet of Jakku, where they believed she would be safe. It was an inspired choice; as detailed in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy, Jakku had been site of a massive battle at the end of the Galactic Civil War, and an aborted Sith ritual that had released a flare of dark side energy. This kind of evil tends to leave a wound in the Force, a dark side nexus that conceals the existence of nearby Force-sensitives. Yoda used the cave at Dagobah to hide from Palpatine, Obi-Wan lived near the Tusken massacre that had been conducted by Anakin Skywalker; in exactly the same way, Rey was left near a place of great darkness. The sophistication of this plan suggests that Rey’s parents had a quite comprehensive knowledge of the Force.

Rey’s Force Awakening & Training With The Last Jedi

Rey remained on Jakku for years, convinced that her parents would return, unaware that they had been found and killed by Palpatine’s agents. Her Force powers seem to have been suppressed through her childhood and teenage years. This may have been a natural, instinctive act of self-defense against the dark side that surrounded her at Jakku; alternatively it could also have been something done to Rey by her parents before they left. Whatever the truth may be, in the end Rey was always destined to step out into the wider galaxy. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she left Jakku aboard the Millennium Falcon, and her powers seemed to awaken with her. Within only days of first accessing the Force, she was able to manipulate the weak-minded with surprising ease, and to match Kylo Ren in a duel on Starkiller Base.

According to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, General Leia Organa realized that Rey was a Palpatine, presumably sensing the truth. When the Resistance successfully discovered Luke Skywalker’s location, Leia sent Rey as a representative, hoping that Luke would agree to train her. He reluctantly did, but the initial training didn’t go well. Making matters worse, Luke discovered that Rey had a mysterious bond with his fallen student, Kylo Ren. In the end, Rey left Luke prematurely, but she took with her the ancient texts of the Jedi Order.

After Luke’s death, Rey dedicated herself to training in the Force. She was wary of the bond she shared with Kylo Ren, and avoided going into action in case she compromised any Resistance missions because her enemy sensed her. Meanwhile, Leia took Rey on as her apprentice herself, attempting to continue what Luke had started. At the same time, Rey pored over Jedi texts so old they predated the prequel era, and learned secrets of the Force that had long been forgotten. And she puzzled over her true connection to Kylo Ren.

Rey Is A Force Dyad With Kylo Ren

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker finally explained the mysterious bond between Rey and Kylo Ren. It seems they are part of something called a “dyad in the Force,” two beings who are mystically linked to one another. It’s unclear how this Force Dyad came to be, or indeed what specific circumstances led to the creation of the bond. It may be as simple as the will of the Force, which recognized Palpatine’s influence on Ben Solo and sought to create an opportunity for his redemption. Whatever the case, as Rey grew in the Force, the connection strengthened as well. The very physical space between the two began to bleed into one another, to the extent they could duel at a distance, and objects could transition from one place to another in a strange form of teleportation. The two initially resisted this, still standing at opposite sides of the light-dark divide, but Rey reached Kylo Ren when she used Force Heal to save his life.

Rey Becoming All The Jedi & Rising As A Skywalker

Rey was horrified when she learned her true heritage, her fear compounded by a vision of a possible future where she became a Sith Empress. She attempted to follow Luke Skywalker’s pattern and exile herself to Ahch-To, site of the first Jedi Temple, but fortunately the Force Ghost of Master Skywalker forced her to confront her fears head-on. Instead, she piloted Luke’s old X-Wing to Exegol, the Sith planet where Palpatine had assembled his secret fleet. There, with the help of a redeemed Ben Solo, she faced her destiny.

She did not do so alone. Exegol is a nexus of the Force, and somehow Rey found herself supported and encouraged by the spirits of all the Jedi who had preceded her. She used her lightsaber to capture and then deflect the Emperor’s lightning back at him, the same method Mace Windu had used against the Sith Lord in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith; it’s possible she was acting on his advice. This time, the Emperor unwisely continued his bombardment, and destroyed himself. With the battle over, an exhausted Rey passed away, but a redeemed Ben Solo sacrificed himself and died in her place. Rey dedicated herself to the path of the Jedi, constructing a new lightsaber to mark her becoming a Jedi Knight, and settled at the old Lars Homestead on Tatooine. In a brilliant final touch, she claimed the name “Skywalker” in honor of her spiritual heritage, rather than focusing on her bloodline.

Rey’s Future After Star Wars 9

Rey may have decided to live on Tatooine, but the very fact she constructed her own lightsaber suggests she has committed to life as a Jedi Knight. That means it’s reasonable to assume that she’s going to be an active presence in the galaxy, confronting darkness wherever she finds it, and it’s even likely that she’ll train others in the Force. In time, Tatooine may well become the home of the reformed Jedi Order; this would be a smart move, given the prequel era Jedi were unwise to move to the galactic capital of Coruscant and bind themselves to the Senate. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker clearly confirmed that Rey’s friend Finn is Force-sensitive, so he may well be her first student, just as Luke’s was presumably his sister Leia.

Actress Daisy Ridley doesn’t appear to be particularly keen on reprising the role of Rey, however, after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. In one interview, she suggested that she’d only come back if the other sequel era stars did as well. “I’m complete,” she observed. “We’re all in it together, so one without the other to me, it doesn’t really compute because I’m like what would Rey be without Finn? What would Finn be without Poe?… I feel this is a beautiful ending in this way.” Of course, the modern Star Wars is a transmedia franchise, so it’s possible Rey’s story will shift to another medium - perhaps to an animated form, or more likely to tie-in novels or comics.

More: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Every Easter Egg & Reference