Regardless of how you feel about Episode VIII, Star Wars: The Last Jedi remains one of the most important installments in the entire Skywalker saga. While The Force Awakens teased many things and set up the Sequel Trilogy, The Last Jedi goes all in on moving the story forward and answering some of our burning questions. The Rise of Skywalker is now set to pick up the baton and bring not only the Sequel Trilogy but the entire Skywalker saga to a close.
Along the way, we might get a few remaining questions answered, as well as a new development in one of the trilogy’s central mysteries: who are Rey’s parents and where does she come from? Although The Last Jedi seemed to give us an answer, it’s just vague enough for The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams to throw in one last twist. In fact, judging from quotes by both Johnson and Abrams, this might in fact be the case.
For those who need a refresher, it is revealed about two-thirds into The Last Jedi that Rey’s parents were junk traders who sold her to Unkar Plutt on Jakku for drinking money. Kylo Ren tells her the truth after seeing her past through the Force bond they share.
“They were filthy junk traders,” Kylo Ren tells Rey. “Sold you off for drinking money. They’re dead in a pauper’s grave in the Jakku desert. You come from nothing.”
It’s a shocking revelation – perhaps more surprising than any other, more obvious connection. It’s a brilliant way to answer the question on Johnson’s part without making Rey carry any extra Skywalker, Kenobi, Palpatine, or Solo baggage. But some fans did buy it, even back then. Many people believe that Kylo was lying in order to break Rey and convince her to join him.
“You have no place in this story. You’re nobody. But not to me.”
There’s an obvious manipulative undertone to Kylo’s revelation. That said, Rey ultimately accepts the truth. Why? Perhaps because it MUST be true.
Johnson, speaking to EW after the release of the movie, confirmed that this is indeed his version of the truth about Rey’s parentage, although he couldn’t speak for what director Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio might do with it in The Rise of Skywalker. That said, as far as Johnson is concerned, Rey’s parents are junk traders.
“I can’t speak to what they’re going to do. And there’s always, in these movies, a question of ‘a certain point of view,'” said Johnson when asked if there might be more to Rey’s backstory than what was revealed in The Last Jedi. “For me, in that moment, Kylo believes it’s the truth. I don’t think he’s purely playing chess. I think that’s what he saw when they touched fingers and that’s what he believes. And when he tells her that in that moment, she believes it.”
Speaking of the decision to give Rey deadbeat parents, Johnson told EW that he wanted to subvert the expectation that the reveal would be as gamechanging as the Darth Vader and Luke moment in The Empire Strikes Back.
The easiest thing for Rey and the audience to hear is, “Oh yeah, you’re so-and-so’s daughter.” That would be wish fulfillment and instantly hand her a place in this story on a silver platter.
The hardest thing for her is to hear she’s not going to get that easy answer. Not only that, but Kylo is going to use the fact that you don’t get that answer to try and weaken you so you have to lean on him. You’re going to have to find the strength to stand on your own two feet and define yourself in this story.
We tend to agree with Johnson on this plot development, but the question now is whether Kylo’s revelation is the full truth in the minds of Abrams and Terrio? Well, Abrams has already confirmed there’s more to Rey’s origin in a recent interview with ABC ABC News last April: “I will say that we knew going into this that this movie had to be a satisfying conclusion, and we’re well aware that [Rey’s parentage is] one of the things that’s sort of been out there. I don’t want to say that what happens in Episode VIII—you know, we’ve honored that. But I will say there’s more to the story than you’ve seen.”
We’ll have to wait to see how this all plays out but prepare yourself for a new Rey twist when The Rise of Skywalker arrives on Dec. 20.
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