(Sorry for the long post, I hope this is okay, as I think it relates to Fanedit decisions)
I’ve been wondering how much of Rey Palpatine was planned from the start. While I did love the Rey Nobody concept of TLJ, I think a lot of track was laid for Rey Palpatine throughout the trilogy.
In TFA, Rey is kind of a natural with the force, instinctively using the Jedi mind trick on a stormtrooper and fighting back against Kylo’s mind attack. I was never bothered by Rey’s aptitude with the force or her fighting ability, but I did always wonder where she would even get the idea of trying a mind trick on a stormtrooper. If she has a connection to past force users, that starts to make a little more sense to me.
I read somewhere, and I’m sorry I can’t remember where and give credit, that Rey has the typical backstory of a villain: a poor orphan discarded and left for dead by her family, forced to scavenge for survival. The difference, of course, is that Rey has a different spirit. That theme struck with me in TROS; that you are not defined by your blood. It’s still not as open as “anybody can be a powerful force user”, but I do like it.
The Last Jedi lays even more track for this, despite the fakeout of her nobody parents. Rey is quickly attracted and open to the dark side, doesn’t even fight it, which scares Luke. If only he were wise enough to know the larger truth (that Yoda seemed to see) that one’s spirit is more revelatory than their birth. She spends the whole movie torn between the light and dark, conflicted and confused. She seeks guidance from Luke and then Kylo Ren, but neither could really help her because they didn’t truly understand her. How could anyone, given her true identity?
Subtle clues can also be found in the musical score going back to TFA. This is an interview with a composer on Classical Classroom where they analyzed the new score shortly after TFA’s release:
(go to 35:10)
Essentially, there’s a part of Rey’s theme that matches up with the Dies irae of the Requiem Mass. Dies irae means “Day of Wrath”; very ominous to say the least, but makes me think Rey’s journey was plotted a little more carefully than we’d think.
These are the things that resonated with me throughout the trilogy, and while I think it could have been better executed, and though I was a huge fan of Rey Nobody, when the Rey Palpatine reveal happened it made immediate sense to me.