The scavenger-turned-Jedi Rey was revealed to be Emperor Palpatine’s granddaughter in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but did Han Solo know about her heritage during their brief time together in Star Wars: The Force Awakens? There are numerous hints in The Force Awakens that could indicate Han knew, but analyzing Rey’s interactions with Leia and Luke Skywalker in The Rise of Skywalker (and how they discovered her lineage) provides a likely answer. Whether or not Han knew, Rey’s heritage may not have changed his view of the courageous young fighter, especially considering his own wife and son’s relation to Darth Vader.
There’s little to indicate that Luke Skywalker knew of Rey’s Palpatine bloodline in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Luke had cut himself off from the Force for most of the film, and his interactions with Rey indicate that he believed she was a Force-sensitive Resistance member with no familial connection to anyone he knew. When Luke reinspires Rey to fight in The Rise of Skywalker, he now knows of her Palpatine lineage, and reveals that Leia knew as well. Leia most likely felt Rey’s connection to the seemingly-dead Emperor between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, but trained her as a Jedi because she knew that Rey was not a potential tyrant, like her grandfather. Leia may have told Luke between the films as well.
Although he acknowledges the Force, Han Solo is not a Force-sensitive, and therefore wouldn’t be able to detect a connection between Rey and Emperor Palpatine. Nevertheless, the Force existed in all life, and even a non-Force sensitive could potentially feel a connection through instinct. In The Force Awakens, Han notably has a conversation with Maz Kanata that cuts off after she asks him “Who’s the girl?” Many viewers interpreted this moment to mean that Han knew more about Rey than it seems – but in reality, it was the film’s coy way of emphasizing the importance of Rey’s lineage. While Han likely felt that Rey was more than a simple scavenger, he didn’t know that she was a Palpatine.
Despite his best efforts to appear as a callous mercenary throughout the Star Wars Skywalker Saga, Han Solo is a brave, selfless, and caring person. Being the granddaughter of the galaxy’s cruelest and most dangerous despot would not have tainted Han’s view of Rey, because he already knew that she was a kind and altruistic person. Leia, Luke, and Ben were all direct descendants of Darth Vader, and Han continued to see only the good in all of them, even when his own son was murdering him. If Han had known about Rey’s lineage, he’d have continued to mentor her.
A key theme in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is that family, while important, doesn’t decide a person’s destiny. Just as Luke and Leia led the Rebellion against the Empire despite being the children of Darth Vader, Rey became a Jedi and helped ensure the Resistance’s victory against her grandfather Palpatine. In Canon, Han assumed the surname of “Solo,” not having been close with his biological relatives. To Han, individual bonds were far more meaningful than familial ones. Though he didn’t know that Rey was a Palpatine, it wouldn’t have mattered to him.