Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Rey's Mom In The Rise Of Skywalker Looks So Familiar

Contains major spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker

After half a decade of build-up, The Rise of Skywalker has finally introduced Rey's (Daisy Ridley) parents — one of whom is a familiar face to fans of prestige television.

In 2017's The Last Jedi, writer-director Rian Johnson made the bold – and, to some, unpopular — choice to reveal that Rey's parents were "nobodies" in a line delivered with a sharp tongue by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Going into The Rise of Skywalker, many fans thought that perhaps returning director J.J. Abrams would reverse course, given he kicked off the Star Wars sequel trilogy with 2015's The Force Awakens and seemed to lay down plenty of tracks regarding Rey's real parentage within that film. Star Wars diehards across the globe hoped to get an answer about who Rey really is in The Rise of Skywalker, and they most certainly did. 

We're about to discuss serious spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker, so please exit now if you haven't yet seen the film and don't want to have surprises ruined for you.

In The Rise of Skywalker, Kylo Ren once again drops a massive bombshell about Rey's parents, but this one is pretty unexpected: Rey's parents weren't genuinely "nobodies" — they were simply pretending to be so that their daughter could remain safe and hidden from the Empire. As it happens, Rey's father was the son of Sith leader Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), and when Sith forces tried to ascertain Rey's whereabouts from her parents after they left her on Jakku, both of them were executed. This makes Emperor Palpatine, who actually wanted to keep Rey alive so he could pass onto her his spirit and those of the Sith before him, Rey's grandfather. 

But what about Rey's mother? As the non-Palpatine half of the equation, not much is known about her character — but if you're a fan of period pieces and buzzy dramas, you've definitely seen the woman who plays her before. In a neat little cameo in The Rise of Skywalker, Rey's mother is played by Jodie Comer, the 26-year-old English actress making a splash across the world thanks to her award-winning role in one of the decade's most acclaimed shows. 

Here's why Jodie Comer — a.k.a. Rey's mother in The Rise of Skywalker – looks so familiar.

Jodie Comer's humble beginnings

After getting her start in theatre as a young actress, Jodie Comer worked a series of odd jobs — including as a checkout girl at Britain's Tesco chain of supermarkets — before finally booking her first television gig in a 2008 guest role on The Royal Family, a spin-off of the popular ITV series The Royals. From there, Comer went on to appear on shows like Law & Order: UK, Vera, Doctors, Casualty, and more, before booking a plum role on My Mad, Fat Diary in 2013. 

Based on Rae Earl's novel My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary by Rae Earl, the E4 series featured Comer as Chloe Gemell — the popular, pretty childhood best friend of the show's main character Rachael "Rae" Earl, played by Sharon Rooney. Overall, My Mad, Fat Diary received critical acclaim and even several BAFTA nominations, putting Comer on a path to stardom.

Jodie Comer, Queen of the Miniseries

From there, Jodie Comer built up her resume by appearing on several different acclaimed miniseries produced through BBC including BBC Three's Thirteen (which earned Comer a nomination for Best Actress at the British Academy Television Awards) and Rillington PlaceSome of the series eventually made their way across the pond to the U.S., where Comer is now a big name (more on that in a bit).

Comer was no stranger to historical dramas and period pieces — in 2015, she appeared in an adaptation of the classic novel Lady Chatterley's Lover on BBC One — but 2017's The White Princess was the first big stepping stone in her career. A sequel to BBC and Starz's miniseries The White Queen – which starred Mission: Impossible's Rebecca Ferguson as Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner who marries King Edward IV and becomes queen – The White Princess tells the story of Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward and Woodville who marries Henry Tudor and eventually mothers Henry VIII, one of England's bloodiest and most notorious monarchs. (Both series are based on books by Philippa Gregory, a prominent historical fiction author.)

The White Princess gave Comer a chance to show her considerable range as Elizabeth ascends, somewhat unwillingly, to the throne alongside her new husband, who's considered by most to be a usurper. But even those who had been following Jodie Comer for years were unprepared for what was to come for the vibrant young actress.

Jodie Comer landed a killer role with Killing Eve

The most important role of Jodie Comer's career thus far arrived shortly after her turn on The White Princess. In June 2017, she scored the part of Russian assassin and verifiable psychopath Villanelle (real name: Oksana Astankova) on the BBC series Killing Eve. On the show, which was created by Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Villanelle is a fabulous yet frightening contract killer who develops a fascination with Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), an MI6 agent tracking her whereabouts. AAs the two powerful women dance around each other — leaving a bloody trail in their wake — the drama and connection between them only deepens.

Comer beat out over 100 other actresses to win the role of Villanelle, and her efforts clearly paid off handsomely. Thanks to her layered, terrifying performance — which also requires the use of numerous accents and languages — Comer has skyrocketed to fame, earning a spot on The Hollywood Reporter's list of rising stars in 2018. 

Both Comer and Oh, the latter of whom returned to the small screen after years on ABC's hit drama series Grey's Anatomy, have won multiple awards for their work on Killing Eve. Oh won a Golden Globe for Best Actress — Television Series Drama in 2018, a SAG Award in 2019, and multiple Emmy nods. As for Comer, she scored the top prize of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the 2019 Emmy Awards. Comer herself and the series as a whole also scored nominations for the 2020 Golden Globe Awards, which will air on January 5, 2020. 

Of course, Comer will appear on the third season of Killing Eve. There's no release date yet, but so far, the show has added other familiar faces to the cast, including Game of Thrones' Gemma Whelan and Succession's Dame Harriet Walter.

What's next for Jodie Comer?

Now that Comer has earned enough fame and acclaim to snag a coveted Star Wars cameo, there's nowhere she can go but up — and her next role has a pretty high profile as well. 

In July 2020, Comer will appear in Shawn Levy's Free Guy alongside a star-studded cast that includes Ryan Reynolds, Thor director Taika Waititi, Stranger Things' Joe Keery, Get Out breakout Lil Rey Howery, and more. The film focuses on an NPC character in a video game, Guy (Reynolds), who must figure out how to crack the code of the game before his entire world is erased.

Comer's star is clearly on the rise — and despite her tiny role as Rey's mother in The Rise of Skywalker, fans of Killing Eve, White Princess, and any of her smaller roles likely clocked the distinctive actress right away. The role of Rey's mother was brief but also incredibly pivotal, so in the end, it makes sense that the powers that be at Lucasfilm would want to cast such a powerful performer.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now, and the first two seasons of Killing Eve are both currently streaming on Hulu. Catch Jodie Comer on the big screen once more when Free Guy hits cinemas on July 3, 2020.