Rey was a human female scavenger and Force prodigy who discovered her latent Force-sensitivity while on a journey to find the legendary Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and bring a new hope to a galaxy on the brink of war. Rey grew up alone in the wastes of the desert planet Jakku, hoping for the day her family would return for her while honing her skills as a scavenger and a warrior. Her life changed forever when she encountered BB-8, a Resistance astromech droid who carried information about Skywalker's whereabouts, and a stormtrooper named Finn who defected from the First Order. They were hunted by the First Order, forcing them to escape from Jakku aboard the Millennium Falcon, eventually finding help from Han Solo and Chewbacca during their journey to the Resistance base on D'Qar.
On Takodana, Rey discovered the lightsaber that once belonged to Luke and Anakin Skywalker but rejected the idea that the lightsaber was a sign of her destiny. Rey was soon taken captive by the dark Force user Kylo Ren, who wanted information about Skywalker's whereabouts. During the attack on the First Order superweapon Starkiller Base, Rey witnessed Solo's death at Ren's hands and engaged the dark warrior in lightsaber combat. Rey, an injured Finn, and Chewbacca escaped to D'Qar and learned of Skywalker's whereabouts. Rey ventured to the lost world of Ahch-To, found Skywalker, and presented him with his father's lightsaber as a sign of the only hope the galaxy had left: the return of the Jedi.