This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Ever since she was first introduced to movie audiences in the deserts of Jakku, the mystery of Rey (Daisy Ridley)'s backstory has loomed large over the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and now, we finally have an answer. Rey's parentage was confirmed in Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker and the big reveal connects her and her journey to become a Jedi to generations of heroes and villains that came before her.
In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) attempted to lure Rey over to the Dark Side by telling her that he knows the truth about who her parents are, and why they abandoned her on Jakku. However, at the climax of their fight, he tells her that she already knows the truth about her parents: that they were "nobodies" who sold her off for drinking and gambling money, and that they have never thought about her again since. "You have no place in this story," he says at one point. "You come from nothing. You are nothing."
However, fans were quick to pick up on some potential hints that Kylo Ren was lying to her, and that Rey was related to someone important in the Skywalker Saga. Finally, in Rise of Skywalker, fans' theories were finally confirmed. Rey's parents were nobodies, but that was because they chose to leave their life behind and live in exile on Jakku in order to protect Rey from her grandfather, Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).
In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey finally sees her parents — played by Killing Eve star Jodie Comer and Dunkirk's Billy Howle — in a flashback, after Kylo Ren reveals that she is actually the granddaughter of the evil Sith Emperor Palpatine. According to him, the Emperor knew that Rey had the potential to grow up and become a Jedi, wanted to have the baby killed in order to keep her from potentially threatening his reign.
In order to protect Rey, her parents escaped to Jakku, where they hid out in order to keep Palpatine from finding her. Unfortunately, it seems that the Sith found out where Rey and her parents were hiding, and after hearing that they were on their way to capture — and likely kill — their daughter, Rey's parents decided to sell her to scavengers so that nobody would know what happened to her. The aspiring Jedi then grew up as a lonely scavenger, always hoping that her parents would return for her one day, not knowing that Palpatine had them murdered for protecting her.
While Rise of Skywalker does finally answer some of the biggest questions surrounding Rey's ancestry, it doesn't explain why Rey's father — Palpatine's son — decided to rebel against the Emperor and live his life as a "nobody." Was it just because he wanted to protect his young daughter from harm? Or did he disagree with the Sith and actually find himself drawn to the light side of the Force? And though Kylo Ren notes that Leia (Carrie Fisher) knew that Rey's father had pulled away from Palpatine, like she and Luke (Mark Hamill) did with their own evil father, the film never explains if Rey's parents were part of the Resistance or if Leia just sensed it in Rey.
Regardless of the lingering questions about Rey's parents, the big reveal that she is Palpatine's granddaughter does explain the strong connection that she and Kylo Ren have had since the beginning of the new trilogy. After all, as he explained, they are a Force Dyad, two sides of the same coin, and two people who have the same relationship with their parents, grandparents, and the Force, which drew them to one another, over and over again.
After a lifetime of searching for her family, Rey discovers the truth of who she is in Rise of Skywalker, and more importantly, she discovers what family truly means to her when she adopts the last name, "Skywalker." Still the big reveal in Rise of Skywalker makes it clear that Rey was always destined to carry on the legacy of the Jedi and restore balance to the Force.