Rian Johnson Talks About Rey’s Parents and ‘Episode IX’
[This post is a wretched hive of scum and SPOILERS for The Last Jedi.]
We’ve all seen The Last Jedi and the question of who Rey’s parents are has finally been solved. They’re nobody! Just some regular people! And they’re gone now! All those months of arguing and speculation are over!
Yeah, well... not exactly.
While talking to HuffPost, director Rian Johnson explained exactly what made that reveal so pivotal for Rey’s character and for the series itself. He said that when Kylo Ren told her to search her feelings about her family, it was “the most difficult thing dramatically for Rey in this movie to hear.” He added:
What’s going to make life hardest on her? It would be the big ‘I am your father’ twist [from ‘The Empire Strikes Back’].
And same thing with Rey and her parentage. The easy thing would be, ‘Yes, your parents are so and so and here’s your place in the world. There you go.’ The hardest thing she could hear would be [...] ‘No, you’re not going to get the answer. This is not going to define you. You’re going to have to find your own place in this world. Kylo is going to use that even as leverage to try and make you feel insecure, and you’re going to have to stand on your own two feet.’
It was a great character moment, and a relief for fans (like yours truly) who were hoping that Rey’s true parentage would mean a step away from the Skywalker dynasty that has overshadowed these movies in the past. Rey learning that her parents were nobodies who are probably dead now is a pivotal moment in the series, and fits with Star Wars’ anyone-can-be-special mythos than any other answer to that question could have.
It also angered plenty of fans who were hoping that Rey was in some way a Skywalker, or related to some Jedi from the past whose history could guide her. I’m sure, for those who had spent the last two years shuffling their fan theories around, this reveal felt like a red herring bigger than Snoke. But for those fans who were disappointed by the outcome, there still may be some hope.
One of the big theories floating around is that Kylo Ren wasn’t telling Rey the truth. Johnson has said that Kylo was being sincere with her in that moment, but he could have just been repeating a lie that Snoke had told him, thinking it was true. When Johnson was asked whether the next movie in the series would clear up the mystery more, he was cagey.
Anything’s still open, and I’m not writing the next film. [J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio] are doing it.
With all of these movies, Obi-Wan’s whole speech about a certain point of view always applies, so I think that you have to always think about the context of how information is given. But for me, dramatically, that’s why that reveal at that moment made sense.
I can’t tell whether that was a I’m-done-answering-questions-now answer or what, but personally, I hope they leave it at that. Rey figuring this stuff out alone is much more exciting than any alternative, and it fits with the theory that the ability to be Force-sensitive is pretty random.
Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters December 20, 2019.
Gallery – A Visual History of Star Wars Posters: