WARNING: SPOILERS FOR BLOODLINE
Heritage has always been important in Star Wars, mostly because what we have had so far is the story of the Skywalkers. But as Star Wars is expanding, going off in directions we never could have imagined, it will be interesting to see what impact heritage will have.
Heritage matters, not just in Star Wars but in the real world. Obviously, Luke would not have become who Luke is had his father not been Darth Vader. But conversely, Leia would not have become who she is had she not been raised by the Organa’s. It is clear then, that heritage is more than just one’s bloodline, but rather the legacy that a family leaves behind based on how their actions impact the world, or galaxy, around them.
Many of us can relate to this for various reasons. We may feel the need to live up to who are parents are or were, much like Luke in A New Hope. We may be trying to just honor our family, and build upon the legacy left by previous generations, as Leia does. We may be trying to get out from behind our parents shadows, which seems to be Kylo Ren’s motivation. Or we might be trying to figure out why our parents acted as they did, which is a characteristic of both Rey and Luke Skywalker. Regardless, handling the legacy left before us is something that we all have to deal with, and through the lens of Star Wars we can become far more informed about what this means.
Now, I am completely spoiler free about Episode VIII or any other material coming out, but considering Kathleen Kennedy’s comments that the episodic films of the sage are to focus on the Skywalkers, it is quite plausible that the films will deal with the legacy that our characters are to leave. Therefore, in order to understand the saga as a whole, we must understand the current state of the Skywalker legacy.
First, there is the crux of the saga, Luke Skywalker. Clearly a hero of the Rebellion, we know little of what happened to him afterwards, which makes it next to impossible to determine what his legacy is in the galaxy at large. It’s made clear in Bloodline that Luke has gone his own way, training Jedi and asking little of the New Republic. Yet some people question his version of events on the Death Star, while others believe him to be no more than a myth.
Moreover, we don’t know what the galaxy thinks of the rise of a new Jedi Order, let alone its downfall. In The Force Awakens Lor San Tekka, a member of the Church of the Force, speaks of the need for the Jedi, which bring more questions than it answers. Who is this man? What is the Church of the Force? Is it something brought on by Luke’s victory above Endor or something else? What is the relationship between the Jedi and this organization? And, most importantly, does the galaxy at large agree with this sentiment, or is it a belief held by this minority?
All of these questions do, in fact, give us one very clear answer: Luke’s legacy is very much in flux.
Thus, in order to look at the Skywalker legacy, must look to Leia. In Bloodline, she is outed as the daughter of Darth Vader, essentially destroying her political career. Nonetheless, she starts the Resistance and takes up the role of general, a role that may be more appropriate for her than senator. Leia is very aware of her heritage and what it means, both as an Organa and a Skywalker, but she cares not about legacy. She cares only about the friends who stand by her in times of trial and those who love her despite her flaws. She trusts the rest to take care of itself.
It is this inherent strength that has come to define Leia. She is a princess, but not in the Disney sense. Rather, she is strong-willed, determined, and able to overcome any challenge. She is able to save herself, although she appreciates when others help her. She inspires and motivates, and even when things get their toughest she does not waiver. It is this strength that is the core of the Rebellion and the Resistance; it is this strength that led to the destruction of three world destroying superweapons. And it is this strength that will be her legacy when the galaxy looks back on her life.
Enter Kylo Ren. The second man of Skywalker blood to fall to the dark side. Unlike Anakin, who was determined to save his family and uphold his legacy as a great Jedi, Kylo Ren seems determined to remove himself from his family and create a legacy all his own. It is unknown what will happen to Kylo, but it is clear, via his murder of his father and the words of Lor San Tekka, that Kylo is dealing with a soul tormented by the legacy he thinks he must destroy rather than uphold.
Luke and Leia had legacy shoved upon them, and they embraced it in order to improve not only their family name, but the galaxy as a whole. Kylo, on the other hand, was born into a legacy seems unable to face, and thinks obliterating it will be the best thing for the galaxy.
As the new trilogy evolves, both cinematically and narratively, this is without a doubt going to be a major focus. Knowing that, I would be remiss if I did not mention Rey, our central protagonist. She seems to be the crux of the entire legacy of the Skywalkers on the galaxy, even if she herself is not a Skywalker or a Solo. Even if she has no blood relation, she is going to undeniable impact what the galactic history books say about Luke, Leia, Kylo. Furthermore, Episode VII made it certain that she considers family something important, and thus as she grows as a character that will without doubt be a lens through which she world.
What that means, as with any legacy, will only be seen when years have gone by and we have the blessing of retrospect.