Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In the two years between the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, there was one major mystery that fascinated the Star Wars fandom: Rey's parentage. Who are Rey's parents in Star Wars was the question on everyone's lips, and one of the most popular theories was that she was actually Leia's daughter. After seeing The Last Jedi, Leia could be Rey's mom, but for the sake of the story and the Star Wars franchise, she really shouldn't be.
Rey's innate skill with Luke's lightsaber, her immediate connection to General Leia, and her strange pull to Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens all point to a potential Skywalker familial connection. Rey being Leia's daughter, specifically, would explain a lot, like why the young woman was abandoned on Jakku as a girl (to protect her from Kylo Ren) and how strong she is with the Force. Unfortunately, The Last Jedi might have put that theory to bed, with Kylo telling Rey that he saw her parents and he knows the truth: Rey's parents were nobodies — junk traders who sold her for drinking money and never looked back. Kylo tells Rey that her desire to hold onto the idea of her perfect parents that would swoop back into her life was holding her back from her true potential with the Force, and urges her to leave everything behind and join him. Together they can make their own way, he proposes.
Rey's teary reaction seems to confirm that her parents were, indeed, just a poor couple who sold their daughter — definitely not Luke or Leia. Kylo even calls it a truth she's known all along. But it's possible that Kylo is lying. If there's one thing fans can count on it's that Star Wars is full of family secrets, and this could be a big misdirect. However, as romantic as it is to think that Rey could be the daughter of Leia (and possibly Han Solo), it would also be quite sad. If Rey is Leia's daughter, fans won't ever get to see the mother-daughter reunion they might have been hoping for, as filmmakers have stated they would not be bringing in a CGI Carrie Fisher to finish out the trilogy in the wake of her death. It would also open up many plot holes, like why neither Han, nor Leia, nor Luke recognized her.
But, more than that, it would mean that the Jedi are still a dying breed. The idea of an orphaned and ordinary young hero being destined for something greater is a recurring theme in the Star Wars franchise. But so is ordinary people rising up and embracing their strengths to become heroes. If Rey's parents aren't actually Skywalkers but just regular, flawed, people, then it opens up endless possibilities for potential heroes in the universe. It would mean that blood doesn't determine one's destiny, spirit does. Rey isn't a hero because of her parents, she is one because she trusts her connection to the Force and resists the seduction of the Dark side. Who her parents are or are not makes no difference — it's what she is on her own that matters.
If a "nobody" like Rey can be the new Jedi, then that means there are many more like her out there, just waiting to be found. The Last Jedi is all about sparking hope for the Resistance, ensuring that the movement lives on beyond its depleting numbers and resources. What is clear by the end of the film is that the only way the Resistance is going to defeat the First Order is if they continue to recruit new members and new heroes. Hopefully that includes more Force-sensitive warriors, perhaps potential young Jedi, who can fight alongside Rey. The young child at the end of the film, for example, who uses the Force to summon a broom into his hand and is inspired by Rose and Finn to believe in the Resistance — maybe he can be a Jedi too.
Rey not being Leia's daughter would send the message that anybody can be a Jedi, which would in turn help the franchise moving forward. Already, Lucasfilms has announced plans to expand the Star Wars universe beyond these core trilogies. Standalone movies as well as new trilogies are being announced left and right. Setting the precedent that the only strong Jedi in this new generation are those related to Luke and Leia would be immediately restrict any new story. Does everybody in the Star Wars hall of fame need to be a Skywalker? Let's hope not.
The heart of The Last Jedi lies in the idea that anybody can be a hero — a hotheaded pilot, a lonely mechanic, a former Stormtrooper, and an orphan. Making Rey Leia's daughter would only take away from that moral. Maybe Kylo is right when he says that the past should be left behind. What matters is that Rey can move forward on her own. That's how she's going to defeat the First Order and inspire a new generation of heroes, regardless of who her parents are.