Star Wars Accents Primer: How Rey's Voice Is The Biggest Clue To Who She Is


It has only been a week since "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was released in cinemas, and while the film answered some questions fans raised such as Luke Skywalker's whereabouts, it also opened up another big puzzle, especially one pertaining to Rey's origin since she speaks with an accent that is not native to Jakku.

Rey's character is indeed filled with mystery and her role in the battle between the Empire and the Rebels is just as big a question mark as her origin. While we have yet to discover the magnitude of her role in the future of the Star Wars universe, we can at least try to determine from "The Force Awakens" and the six previous films who she is and why her character was constructed the way it was.

Rey/Daisy Ridley And Finn/John Boyega

These two new central characters are both British actors, but it is noticeable in "The Force Awakens" that, while Daisy Ridley kept her British accent to play the mysterious Rey, who wields an enormous amount of The Force, Finn the former Stormtrooper was made to speak with an American English accent. When you put the difference in accent together and look at the previous six films, or at least the first three, you would definitely discover that accents reflect a character's position and political power. What does this mean for Rey, then?

British Versus American Accent In The Star Wars Universe

Han Solo, Luke and Anakin Skywalker had an American accent. Padme Amidala, Princess Leia Organa and Darth Vader had a British accent. No, that's not an error. If you watch the first six films again and listen carefully, you would hear Darth Vader speak with a British accent, but Hayden Christensen's Anakin Skywalker definitely did not have one. So what does this difference tell us about the Star Wars Universe?

In the Star Wars universe, accents ultimately determines a character's origin and environment. Han, Luke and Anakin were born and grew up in the outer worlds of the galaxy and could be considered as the Star Wars Universe's "commoners." Whereas, Princess Leia and Padme Amidala are both born into positions of power at the core of the Republic and were surrounded by people who also spoke with a British accent.

But what of Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker, who are one and the same but changed over time? Anakin and Darth Vader's case may be the same case, switching accents depending on who they were talking to. Whenever Padme talked to people in positions of power, she addressed them in a proper manner and with a British accent and this is the same case for Princess Leaia. For Anakin, he was born and grew up as a slave in Tatooine, but was freed from slavery and trained as a Jedi Knight, which explains his American accent.

As for his British accent decades after when he turned into Darth Vader, there are speculations that he picked up the accent since he was constantly exposed to the seats of power and also obtained a powerful position afterwards as The Emperor's right hand when he defected to the Dark Side of the Force.

The Rey (Accent) Mystery

Given that Rey, a mysterious desert scavenger in the outer rim world of Jakku, seems to be the only person speaking with a British accent there and based on how key characters reflect their position in the society based on their accent, it's not a long shot to assume that Rey is descended from a family of power, or at least the daughter of someone who grew up using the Coruscant accent.

Some speculate that Rey is the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia, but whose memories have been wiped by Kylo Ren himself. Then there are others who believe that she is the daughter of Luke Skywalker and a still unnamed woman who spoke with a Core accent.

Rey can't help uncover the mystery in Episode VII because she can't remember and JJ Abrams made sure to keep it a mystery as well, but surely, her accent is a glaring clue that she is somehow connected to a position of power. After all, if the change in Boyega's accent was deliberate, then the act of keeping Ridley's accent is deliberate too and serves a purpose.

It's a shame that we don't really get an answer to the mystery of Rey's background in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," but it will also be an interesting mystery to try and solve as we all wait for "Star Wars Episode VIII" which begins filming in January.

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