Written by robotical712.
I’m at a point where I feel confident that I’ve largely figured out what Rey’s intended backstory is. I believe the only real coincidences are the Falcon(1) and BB-8 rolling directly into Rey (although this is almost certainly Force directed).
After RotJ, Luke spent some time searching for Jedi related artifacts and information. During his travels he fell in love and got married, resulting in a child (Rey). His wife assisted him in his research. At some point, Luke started looking for the First Jedi Temple, before he even set up the academy (temple, whatever). When Rey was about five, Luke or Rey’s mother came across information that a map to the temple was on a crashed Imperial vessel on Jakku, and her mother (or whomever) went to investigate and brought Rey along. The obvious first step in locating the map was contacting the local salvage dealer, Unkar Plutt (since most of the recovered salvage went through him).
In all likelihood, Snoke learned of their intended trip and planned an ambush for them(2, 3). As the five year old granddaughter of the chosen one, Snoke’s objective would most likely have been to kidnap and turn her to the darkside (with the added bonus of hurting Luke). Somehow, Rey’s mother had a premonition or received warning of the impending attack, but only had enough time for one course of action. There was no time to hide or find help and her guardian left Rey with Unkar and flew off to draw their attackers from Rey. Alas, she was killed or sacrificed herself before she could call for help. This event turned out particularly tragic for young Force-Sensitive Rey; she felt her mother die.
There has been a lot of discussion about what Rey remembers and she states she doesn’t know where she came from or how she ended up on Jakku in one of the books. Some have theorized a mindwipe, but I think there is good evidence for another explanation – she does remember and is doing her damnedest not to. Feeling her mother’s death would have been horrific for five year old Rey and her reaction was to consciously suppress her own connection to the Force(4). To her father, Luke, and anyone else attuned to her, it would appear she died with her mother. Knowing her mother was dead and how she knew that was far too painful for Rey and she created and clung to a far more comforting fiction – her ‘family’ (which was a comforting abstraction) had accidentally left her behind and were coming back for her. This is why she was so anxious about leaving Jakku, because it risked forcing her to acknowledge what she already knew.
Her deepest fears came true when Rey had the Forceback and Maz told Rey she already knew the truth. These events punctured the belief that had kept her going, but also in a prison of her own making all these years. Understandably, this was a massive emotional blow to Rey and she instinctively rejected it and fled (the book even mentions she was running from herself). By the end of TFA she has accepted that she has been clinging to a fantasy, but I believe she has yet to really acknowledge she already knows what happened and who she is.
Years later, LST either learned of the map or followed the lead that brought Rey’s mother to the planet and eventually succeeded in finding it (he had no idea she was there and may have never met her).
1) I don’t think the Falcon has anything to do with Rey’s backstory. Abrams simply wanted it to be the ship Rey and Finn escape on.
2) Snoke may have learned of Rey’s mother’s plans through an unwitting Ben.
3) Jakku was unaligned and could be directly accessed from the unknown regions, making it the perfect location for an ambush.
4) That she was consciously suppressing her connection to the Force is further supported by the fact her visions of the island came when she was on the verge of sleep.
Edit: I don’t think Snoke knew the map was on Jakku until LST found it.
Edit 2: Plutt has no idea who she is and was not involved with the attackers. From his perspective, her mother suddenly panicked, left Rey there and never came back.
Join our Discord: https://discord.gg/HVKN3dT