Originally Posted by Jr Mouse
Exact same character? What?
The next movie will explain it in greater detail, but it basically boils down to this:
The Empire recovered Luke's hand from Bespin and froze it in carbonite. It was a secret plan by Palpatine to create another series of clones, this time force-sensitive and beholden only to him. It was to be the most powerful army the universe but also insurance if Luke didn't go dark. Plans were naturally delayed after Endor. But Snoke found out through the Empire's Archives (same as Luke's map). First Order scientists found the hand, but were only able to create one hybrid clone (baby Rey). Leia finds out about this and huge battle ensues 20 yrs prior to Force Awakens. Rey is brought by Leia to Luke who raises her at Jedi Camp until Kylo betrays him. Because she is so powerful, he wipes her young mind and abandons her on Jakku with the Millenium Falcon, knowing one day she will be able to pilot the ship off that junkyard and fulfill her destiny. Snoke wasn't looking for Luke just to destroy him. He was really looking for Luke to tell him where Rey is.
Anyway, that's the best I can do in five minutes of my mind wandering.