Now that it is officially confirmed that the release of Episode 8 of Star Wars is delayed until December 2017, we have a hell of a lot more time to fill coming up with ideas for my favorite space babe Rey's backstory. Of all the theories that have blown up on the Internet so far, there is one that hasn't gotten a lot of attention yet: the little boy in Rey's Force vision, mentioned in the Alan Dean Foster novelization of the movie.
If you don't remember a little boy from the movie, don't worry, you haven't lost your marbles (yet). In the movie, we see several distinct scenes in Rey's Force vision after she touches Luke's lightsaber: we see her with the Knights of Ren, we see Luke's hand on R2-D2, we see her about to fight Kylo Ren, and we see her getting left alone on Jakku as a child. There are familiar voices interspersed throughout, and I'm sure once we can get our hands on a DVD and watch it in slow motion we'll notice a hella ton more things the next few times around. But in the meantime, if you're looking for a juicier version of the scene, look no further than the novelization. Among several other additions to the Force vision, it highlights that of an unidentified boy:
"Hello?" Wreathed in the irrationality of the moment, she called hopefully, but received no answer.
A boy appeared at the end of the hallway. She started toward him, and the world turned inside out, causing her to trip and fall.
That's it. That's all we get of this ~boy at the end of the hallway~. Now, the book is considered canon, so obviously he has some significance even if he was ultimately left out of the film. I'm guessing that there's a chance the boy looked too distinctive, and viewers might have guessed who he was based on his appearance — something that you take significantly less risk of with a book. But since he got to stay in this version, the pressing question remains: who is this punk kid showing up in Rey's Force vision? Here are a few theories:
The Boy Is A Young Ben Solo
Kylo Ren is very distinctively pale and dark-haired, so it would take audience members approximately five seconds of walking out of the theater to trace him back to the boy from the vision if he'd been included in the movie. So what the heck would Ben Solo be doing in Rey's Force vision? The movie has made it clear that Rey and Kylo Ren are connected in some way, either by the Force, by heritage, or even by blood. One theory that has been spinning around is that Rey was among the younglings that Kylo Ren slaughtered after joining Snoke, and got away — in that case, she might have distant memories of him, even if she was young when it happened or those memories were suppressed in some way.
In any case, the movie has stressed enough parallels between Kylo Ren and Rey that it's clear that their fates are intertwined in some way — the vision shows Kylo Ren not once, but twice, in events that seem to take place in the future (one of which seems to imply that he is killing one of his own Knights of Ren to spare her life). It would make sense that he was the one to guide her to them, and that he would do it as his innocent, Ben Solo self rather than the person he is now.
The Boy Is A Young Anakin Skywalker
The idea that Luke Skywalker is Rey's father has been circulating since the movie came out, and fans are suggesting that it will be Rey's task to bring along Kylo Ren's redemptive arc the same way that Luke brought about Darth Vader's. But yet another fan theory has recently stirred the pot: that Rey might be a reincarnation of Anakin Skywalker, with similar potential of both Light and Dark, and unnaturally keen sense for mechanics and piloting, and regard for droids and family. Sound far-fetched? Reddit user coolshortsbro discusses other callbacks at length, including a potential nod to the iconic photo of Darth Vader's shadow cast behind a young Anakin Skywalker in a Phantom Menace poster. If you squint a little bit at a photo of Rey, it looks a bit like her shadow on the AT-AT is an approximation of Vader as well.
I'm personally not entirely sold on this theory, but holy smoke (Snoke?), it would be pretty intense — and would explain why we were seeing a young Anakin, if that's who the boy in the Force vision happened to be.
The Boy Is Baby Finn
Can we just pause for a moment and relive the emotional devastation of one particular scene in Star Wars re: our boy Finn? When Captain Phasma is telling General Hux that FN-2187 hasn't gotten into any shenanigans before, she pulls up his file, and in the bottom left corner is his BABY PICTURE. Like, poor little infant Finn, just after he was stolen from his fam. I don't know why he would appear in Rey's Force vision, but I personally have some suspicion that Finn might also be a user of the Force, or descended from users. In any case, it's been clear since the moment that he barreled into Rey on Jakku that their fates were intertwined, so it's entirely possible that Rey was seeing a young Finn here.
The Boy Is A Lost Brother Of Rey's
In this scramble to figure out who the hell Rey's parents are, we've all kind of taken for granted that she may very well not be an only child. The boy she is seeing in the vision could be her brother, or even her twin — between Luke and Leia, and Han and Leia's twins Jacen and Jaina Solo (whose narrative was erased for this movie), it seems like eggs all over this galaxy are pretty keen on getting simultaneously fertilized. It wouldn't be too wild to think that Rey had a family beyond whoever we hear abandoning her on Jakku — the real question is whether or not they're still alive.
Of course, there are a bajillion other possibilities as to who this mystery boy could be — unforch for my brain, we're going to have to wait at least another two years to find out!
Images: Disney; Giphy