I think the issue is a lot of people wanted “Rey Solana” to be the message. That anyone can be a Jedi. TROS keeps this idea but renames it, now anyone can be a Skywalker. It actually builds on the themes of the TLJ, where Luke Skywalker was a legend. Now, anyone can be a legend.
I really don’t agree with this. Why does Rey have to be an honorary Skywalker in order to show that anyone can be a legend? Why can’t Rey make her own legacy, beyond the words “Skywalker” and “Palpatine”? Is it impossible to be a legend unless you change your last name to Skywalker? This is the kind of stuff TLJ was trying to avoid, so I don’t understand why you think Rey Palpawalker builds on the themes of TLJ any more than keeping Rey Nobody would.
I suppose we saw different TLJs, because it’s clear to me the only impact Luke had at the Battle of Crait was his name. Had he been some random Jedi, no one would have cared. Then Luke claims he will not be the Last Jedi, and we Rey: evidence that she will carry on the traditions, not create new ones. It’s not ideal: I agree there’s a lot of errors in the concept, what about the other Jedi etc. But I see it as consistent throughout the ST.
I guess we have seen different movies, because I never got the implication that Rey was going to become an honorary Skywalker from TLJ. Luke said “I will not be the last Jedi,” not “I will not be the last Skywalker.” And just because Luke’s last name is famous doesn’t mean Rey has to adopt it.
The issue with her taking the name Skywalker is that it is a quixotic conclusion to her character arc. Rey spends three movies searching for a family, and ends by taking the name of a family that is now vanished from the galaxy. Sure, she feels comfortable carrying on the Skywalker legacy (at least the good one(s) anyway), but this does little to satisfy her need for a real living family in whatever form that takes. It’s a big missed opportunity because now there is a galaxy of young people who have been stripped of their parents, potentially forever. Will they all take the name Skywalker? Will Finn? There is no indication of this, and it throws into tension her emotional reunion with Finn and Poe, her presumed new ‘family’. The movie also seems to forget that Rey’s real parents died heroically to save her, so not taking their name is another instance of the film throwing a rake in front of itself to trip over.
Beyond these particular tensions, there is an even larger tension with the final scene, and it has to do with the hero’s journey. In the archetypal tale our hero goes forth on adventure and returns home fundamentally changed in some way. The final scene of a mythic tale gives answer to the final question regarding the hero, that of whether they will return to society or whether the journey has changed them too much to ever truly return. Frodo cannot return to the Shire, instead sailing to the Undying Lands to be healed. Luke does return to society in the final scene of Return of the Jedi, leaving the ghosts of the past to join in the celebration. So what does Rey do?
The penultimate scene of TROS implies that despite being changed by her journey, she will return to society and live happily among them. This is a sufficient answer and completes her arc. However the final scene flips this assumption. Now she is reviving the ghosts of the past through her name and ending the film alone on a desert planet. If she were merely going there to bury the past it wouldn’t necessarily be an issue, but the name implies a connection with this isolation that she will never be rid of. She both does and does not return to society simultaneously, and this is why I find it so frustrating.
I never interested the final scene as Rey forever being the Last Jedi. She only came there to end off the saga. After looking into the binary sunrise (symbolizing a new beginning) Rey will go back to her friends and hopefully rebuild the Jedi Order.
I agree with this. I’ve never understood the argument that “Rey ends the movie on Tatooine, therefore she’s going to spend the rest of her life there!” She was just going there to bury the sabers at Luke’s childhood home. After that she’ll probably go back to the Resistance and continue the Jedi legacy.
And Rey still struggles with the ideas of family. It’s just not in the ways most interpreted based off TLJ. She has already answered the obvious question of if she can have a family in the resistance (she was never too sad by the fact she’s a nobody). Instead, it’s all about if she can keep it: she is afraid the others will distance her for being the granddaughter of Palpatine. It’s more a test of what she has accomplished so far, after spending TFA and most of TLJ yearning to return to the past, she now stands firmly with the future.
I understand that point of view, I just wish it was made more clear in the movie. As it stands, Rey’s character arc in TROS is basically, “Oh no, this evil person is my ancestor! Will I become good like my friends or evil like him?” That’s essentially just Luke’s arc repeated again, so it seems less original than keeping Rey as a nobody.