The following contains a fairly hefty spoiler for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. You have been warned.
As Star Wars: The Last Jedi emerges for its home release, debate is sure to rage on over its finer points. It’s one of those films that appears to have delighted and frustrated in just about equal measure, depending on where you look.
Since the franchise was revived with The Force Awakens in 2015, speculation had built over the history of heroine Rey, whose parentage was left deliberately obscure in that film. After two years of debate and online theorizing, writer-director Rian Johnson revealed in The Last Jedi that Rey wasn’t a Kenobi or a Skywalker or even a Hutt, but just plain old Rey – abandoned daughter of callous scrap dealers, left to fend for herself on the planet Jakku.
Whether that’s a pleasingly mundane explanation or something of a let-down is down to personal taste, but what now seems to be the case is that J.J. Abrams, who oversaw The Force Awakens, originally had somewhat different plans for Rey.
This is according to Simon Pegg, who played Unkar Plutt in The Force Awakens and is, of course, a nerdy authority on Star Wars and beyond. During an episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Pegg suggested that what Abrams had planned for Rey had been “undone slightly” by The Last Jedi.
Here’s the quote:
“I know what J.J. kind of intended or at least was being chucked around. I think that’s been undone slightly by the last one. There was some talk of a relevant lineage for her.”
This one line reveals quite a bit about how much latitude Johnson was given when he wrote and shot The Last Jedi. He surely knew about Abrams’ ideas, but decided to forge ahead with his own. In fact, he scrapped Abrams’ Episode VIII script altogether. All the same, the reveal in The Last Jedi isn’t set in stone – it could be that Kylo was simply lying to Rey, since we only really have his word on the matter, at least for now.
Abrams will also be overseeing Episode IX, following original director Colin Trevorrow’s departure, so it’s also possible that he’ll return the favor and undo some of the decisions Johnson made in his middle chapter.
What’s doubly tantalizing is that Pegg clearly knows what Abrams intended. Unless someone can use a Jedi mind trick on Pegg to find out what Abrams’ intentions were, discussion of Rey’s lineage is likely to carry on bouncing around the web for many years yet.