The revelation that Rey was actually Palpatine’s granddaughter was one of the most controversial aspects of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but it’s worth pointing out this idea doesn’t come from director J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Chris Terrio. Believe it or not, this wasn’t the first time in Star Wars history that the Emperor had been confirmed to be a grandfather. In fact, his original grandkid shares many similarities with Rey herself.
One of the many semi-canonical tales from the 1990s was the children’s book series unofficially called “Jedi Prince,” written by Paul and Hollace Davids, illustrated by Karl Kessel and with covers by Drew Struzan. The books followed Ken, an orphan who grew up in the wake of Return of the Jedi, loving the stories of the Rebel Alliance. A natural prodigy in the ways of the Force, Ken joined the Rebellion to battle the vestiges of the Empire, including Palpatine’s son, Triclops.
It was then revealed that Ken was the son of “Jedi princess” Kendalina and Triclops, making him Palpatine’s grandson. This horrified the hero, as he had assumed he was descended from Obi-Wan Kenobi. None other than Luke Skywalker was on hand to lift his spirits, though, by telling him that his actions and good heart were more important than his family history. In any case, Triclops was also not such a bad guy, having turned against his father.
The similarities between Rey and Ken are almost too numerous to count – in summary, both are single-named protagonists with unusually strong Force-sensitivity who are searching for the truth about their lineage, only to discover their dark family tree. It’s unclear if “Jedi Prince” was an influence on Abrams and Terrio, but it certainly seems likely. After all, Ben Solo was already inspired by Jacen Solo, so the Legends material is clearly a major source of inspiration for the sequels. What was it George Lucas said about Star Wars rhyming again?