The first time audiences saw the character of Rey, she was gathering scraps on her desert home planet of Jakku. She lived alone and would later mention that her parents had merely abandoned her on that planet many years before. She was essentially a nobody who would soon become embroiled in a larger wartime plot she couldn’t ever have predicted. This setup parallels that of Luke Skywalker. He, too, lived largely alone on a desert planet. He, too, would become embroiled in a larger wartime plot he couldn’t ever have predicted. This allowed the nobodies in the audience to imagine themselves in a similar position. Maybe someday, you too will get involved in an exciting space battle against a fascist empire.
In both cases, however, it was eventually revealed that the protagonists’ involvement in the war was destined through birthright. Many fans found the repeated twist to be tiresome. Ridley, however, was less concerned with the pandering nature of the twist and more with how it reflected on her character. Yes, Rey found she was part of a dark legacy, but that only made her personal choices that much more important. Ridley said:
“What was interesting about the last one, for me, was that you can be a hero and not come from anywhere or you can be a hero and come from literally the worst person in the universe. […] You’re not your parents, you’re not your grandparents, you’re not your bloodline and you’re not the generations before you.”
Rey may have inherited her powers and may have been the granddaughter of a supervillain, but her impulses and positivity drove her toward heroism. Hence her eventual claiming of the name “Skywalker.” She had more in common with that name than “Palpatine.”