Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker answered the sequel trilogy’s most burning question: who are Rey’s parents? As it turns out, Rey’s father was the offspring of Palpatine, making the former Emperor her grandfather. However, the film’s novelization later expanded on this revelation by explaining her father was a failed clone of Palpatine.
That said, Forbes‘ JV Chamary, who has a Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology, explained how Palpatine could more appropriately be described as either Rey’s uncle or her grandmother.
Although Rey would be Palpatine’s granddaughter if her father’s DNA had enough of a genetic difference from Palpatine’s, biologically speaking, a clone is an exact genetic replica. By that logic, it’d be more accurate to call Rey’s father Palpatine’s twin brother than his son, even if there were slight differences in the DNA. This would make Rey Palpatine’s niece.
On the other hand, Chamary argues that if you do view Rey’s father as Palpatine’s son while also viewing the cloning process as natural versus artificial, it would make Palpatine Rey’s grandmother. “Biologists use ‘mother’ to label the individual that contributes the vast majority of resources and usually half the genetic material to their offspring (the egg in humans),” he explains. “Likewise, when one cell produces others, the original is called a mother cell and her offspring are daughter cells.”
By this logic, if Palpatine’s clone is akin to offspring created through asexual reproduction, then the Sith Lord is not Rey’s grandfather but her grandmother.
Directed and co-written by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Keri Russell, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher, with Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant. The film is now available on Digital HD, Blu-ray, 4K UHD and Disney+.
JV Chamary, who has a Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology, explained how Star Wars' Palpatine could be considered Rey's uncle or grandmother.