After 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker ended this Star Wars trilogy with Rey choosing the last name “Skywalker,” it became a joke of sorts, an all too obvious conclusion to a franchise that Disney had taken to calling the “Skywalker Saga.” But a new book shows that Rey’s name could’ve been much, much worse and far more embarrassing than we could have ever expected.
Lucasfilm’s Creative Executive Pabli Hidalgo recently put out his book, entitled Star Wars: Fascinating Facts and the book certainly lives up to its name. In a series of tweets, user @Oozer posted some of his favorite facts from the book, including that George Lucas’s 2012 version of the sequel trilogy would have killed Luke Skywalker in Episode VIII, and that Luke in this iteration of the trilogy would’ve been based on Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.
But maybe the most fascinating fact is the terrible name Rey originally had. Hidalgo says in the book, “In George Lucas’s original outline, she was a 14-year-old girl named Taryn. In his subsequent iterations, she would briefly be named Thea and – believe it or not – Winkie. When writer/director J.J. Abrams came aboard, he simplified the names to placeholders.” Hidalgo continues that Thea eventually became Sally and then, “As the film neared production, Sally became Kira (which stuck as a production code name), then Echo, and finally Rey.”
That’s right, the sequel trilogy came close to being about the adventures of Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren and… Winkie Skywalker.
Granted, Star Wars is packed with extremely strange names, like the Beastie Boys-inspired Ello Asty, Elan Sleazebaggano, and the unfortunately named Paodok’Draba’Takat Sap’De’Rekti Nik’Linke’Ti’ Ki’Vef’Nik’NeSevef’Li’Kek. But all of these were names given to relatively inconsequential characters, not the lead of the franchise. Maybe George Lucas was just a fan of the area of Winkie Country in the Land of Oz?
Thankfully, Daisy Ridley didn’t have to play Winkie Skywalker, but it seems like as of right now, she’s done with the Star Wars universe. In an interview with Vulture last year, when asked if she would come back to the world, Ridley stated, “There are so many characters in the Star Wars world who’ve never been explored. There’s so much for the filmmakers to work on. So right now, I don’t think so. But who could say, really? An opportunity might present itself.” Ridley followed that by saying, “Right now, it feels like a really nice full stop on the Skywalker series.” As of right now, it seems as though Ridley’s final appearance as Rey might be in the Rise of the Resistance ride, which opened in 2020 in both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Ridley appears as a holographic message to guests before the mission within the ride.
But that doesn’t mean we have seen the last of Rey. The recently announced The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special will center around Rey leaving her friends to prepare for Life Day. In the special, Rey is said to discover a mysterious Jedi Temple that will show her many moments throughout the past of Star Wars history. However, it does not appear that most of the primary cast from The Rise of Skywalker will reprise their roles in The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. However, there’s no telling what the planned trilogy from Rian Johnson could be about, or the upcoming female-led Star Wars series for Disney+. Maybe any of these future projects could feature the return of Ridley as Rey?
At the very least, let’s be thankful that J.J. Abrams decided to change the name of Winkie to Rey. For all the criticisms that the sequel trilogy has received, Hidalgo’s book shows us that the sequel trilogy could’ve been far worse.