Ok I've seen the movie three times.
Here's my theory that will maybe address some of the complaints.
Rey is Luke's daughter. Everything seems to point to that. Star Wars is a story about Skywalkers afterall. We need a Skywalker for the next generation. It's Rey. All sorts of hints. Main hints:
- Naturally powerful with the force. Seems familiar with the ways of the force and knows of the myths of Luke. My original thought was that maybe she was a random youngling/padawan that somehow escaped the wrath of Ren and was put into hiding... so maybe she had some basic jedi training that she's forgotten Bourne Identity style... but i'm going with her being Luke's daughter.
- I think Han knows who she is. He warms to her instantly. Offers her a job. In the watering hole with the 1000 year old elf woman, she asks who the girl is and it immediately cuts away... suggesting that Han knows. Also, the Skywalker light-saber calls out to her. And after her visions, the 1000 year old woman is like, "That was Luke's and his father's before... now it's yours... you take it". She reacted towards Rey as if Han had just informed her, "uh yeah... that's Luke's daughter, but she doesn't remember who she is"... Then suddenly the light saber calls out to Rey and elf woman recognizes, "woah... we have a new hope... this is big... she needs that saber... she needs to find Luke... it's the will of the force". All seems to suggest that Rey is the next in line. Elf woman also says something like, "You already know nobody is coming back for you... but the belonging you seek is in front of you... someone can still come back"... and Rey responds knowingly... "Luke". Even as the place is being bombed, the elf woman insists that Fin take the saber and give it to Rey.
- Despite the fact that she's never met Rey before, Leia and Rey embrace each other when they first meet at the
Republic base. They are connected not only by the force, but I think instinctively know they are family. Also, Han has already filled in Leia about "the girl"... I suspect Leia knows it's her niece.
- This is a big one. R2D2 has gone into "low power mode" ever since Luke went away. But as soon as Rey arrives at the base and is in the general proximity of R2D2, he beep boop beeps back to life. Not a coincidence. Also, R2D2 was in Rey's visions/memories.
She's Luke's daughter. But why was she abandoned?
Here's where I think it gets interesting and after watching the movie 3 times, I think the visions/memories offer many clues.
One thing that wasn't clear to me the first viewing was the timeline for Ben Solo/Kylo Ren. It's now clear to me that he was displaying aggression from an early age. As Leia puts it, "he had too much Vader in him". It was also suggested that Snoke got to Ben at a young age and seduced him to the Dark Side. It makes sense that Snoke would target an offspring of Anakin Skywalker, because he's strong with the force. Leia/Han feel the main blame is with Snoke (though they clearly blamed themselves). It was at this point that Leia decided he needed to be sent away to live with his religious fanatic uncle Luke who might be able to get through to Ben. It didn't work out. We're told that Ben turned on Luke and "destroyed all of it"... presumably killing all of the remaining new generation of Jedi that Luke was training. Out of shame, Luke went into seclusion.
I think this partially explains why Kylo Ren isn't very powerful. He's naturally gifted in the force, but likely wasn't trained very long. Originally, I thought he was training with Luke as a young boy, but it seems more likely that he wasn't formally trained for long. He's still learning the ways of the force and Snoke himself says Kylo Ren has yet to complete his training.
I think there's another very key reason why Kylo Ren didn't come across "very powerful" in that final battle and it speaks more to his pathos and inner conflict. You gotta understand that from Kylo Ren's perspective, the dark side of the force is what needs to be embraced for ultimate peace (side note: Remember that it's all blatantly Nazi inspired... they felt that their methods would lead to a better world... the ends justified the means). His grandfather, Vader, almost succeeded, but was "Seduced by the light side". Think about that for a second... from Kylo Ren's perspective, Vader FELL to the light side... Vader didn't have the strength to murder his own son. Kylo wants to finish what Vader started... and wants to prove he can succeed where his grandfather failed... hence why he had to murder his relative. But he was obviously pained by it. It wasn't easy for him. He still feels the pull of the light side. It still haunts him.
So here's the thing... Let's assume for a moment that I'm right and that Rey is Luke's daughter. That makes Rey the young cousin of Kylo Ren. He would have held her as a baby... watched her as an innocent young child. While he was going through all this inner struggle, Rey was pure light... but she was also dangerous. She was naturally strong with the force and could be a major threat down the line if she was kept alive and trained.
When Rey has her visions, we see her as a young child being dropped on Jakku and screaming "nooooOooo!!! don't go!!!"... We also see visions of Luke and R2D2 and visions of Kylo Ren. The interesting thing about the visions of Kylo Ren is that Ren is surrounded by his "Knights of Ren" (only seen in this brief glimpse, but basically they are a group of his lackeys)
Presumably, this is the group that worked with Kylo Ren to cut down and murder the remaining Jedi. The really interesting thing is that in Rey's vision, one of them is coming towards her... only to be lightsabered through the chest by Kylo Ren himself. If you watch the movie again, watch specifically for that scene. It's one of his own men that is coming towards Rey (shot from her perspective) and then Kylo Ren cuts him down. We then cut to a shot of her at Jakku screaming "noooo!!!" while she's abandoned... and my girlfriend insists that the ship that is flying away is an
First Order ship.
All this leads me to believe that Kylo Ren, being seduced by the "light side" of the force, couldn't bring himself to murder his young baby Cousin. This leads me to believe that one of the Knights of Ren was about to cut her down, but Kylo Ren himself murdered his own man... ultimately decided to let Rey live, mind-wiped her, and dropped her off on some desert planet... sparing her and hoping that his decision wouldn't come back to haunt him. Keep in mind this was likely a decade before the movie's events start... and Kylo hadn't yet fully embraced the dark side. Murdering family members wasn't something he could yet bring himself to do.
There seems to be evidence of this in how Kylo Ren reacts when he's told of "a girl" helping the Droid escape. He seems to instantly know something. He knows where Rey was dropped off... he knows how the force works... he knows that it's not a coincidence that "some girl" has helped a droid escape in the Millenium Falcon of all ships. The force works in mysterious ways... and at that moment Kylo Ren realizes he dun fugged up. He reacts in a fit of rage, smashing the console in front of him with his saber.
... This also explains why when they first meet... Kylo Ren reacts knowingly. He's not hateful towards Rey. He's curious. He knows she's seen the map, of course, and she's an asset in that regard... but he also knows... this is his cousin... the cousin he spared. Later when interrogating her, he taps into her mind... realizes that Rey has seen visions of an ocean/island (where we eventually realize Luke is staying)... realizes that Rey saw Han as the father figure she never had and tells her that Han would only disappoint her... but Rey starts to fight back with the force and this frightens Kylo. His worst fears are coming true... the cousin his spared is powerful with the force... she could prove to be a threat. When he realizes she's escaped, he once again reacts in a fit of rage. He knows this is his fault.
Which brings me to my final point about the climactic fight between Kylo and Rey. Not only do I think Kylo Ren is not fully trained in the force.. not only do I think Kylo Ren was semi-injured during that battle (Chewie shot his leg up)... but I think Kylo Ren was absolutely holding back. He doesn't want to kill Rey for the same reasons he couldn't bring himself to kill her as a little girl. He's not going for the kill. He's sparring with her. She's jabbing and swinging and he's fending her off... and at one point he even tries to plea with her, "I can train you... join me!"... He doesn't want to kill her. She taps into the force, gains the upper hand and lashes out at him... but I think if Kylo wanted her dead, she'd be dead. This of course mirrors the early fights between Luke and Vader in which Vader essentially toys with Luke... not wanting to kill his son.
So anyways. I think Han/Leia know who Rey was. It wasn't their place to tell her the truth. Of all people to send to see Luke, they decided to send Rey... a curious decision until you realize General Leia is keenly aware that Rey is perhaps the only person who can bring Luke back. We then need to ponder what Luke's reaction is when he sees Rey on that mountain top. Does he immediately know that is his daughter? Did he believe her to be dead? Has Luke himself lost his marbles a bit after years of seclusion? Will he be fearful in training her... worried that she may be lost for good to the dark side?
All of this I suspect, will be played out in more detail during the sequels. Is there still good in Kylo Ren? Will he fully embrace the Dark side or will his soft spot for Rey remain? Will he be saved by Rey much like Vader was saved by Luke? Will a greater threat appear? Will Luke himself turn to the dark side? What kind of twists and turns are in store for us?
This is what was missing from the prequels. There was no mystery. I thought the new movie was a blast and I'm genuinely interested to see where the story goes from here.