Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson reveals the silliest idea he had regarding Rey's parentage. One of the biggest mysteries to emerge out the first movie in the new Star Wars trilogy with The Force Awakens was where the film's Force-gifted heroine, Rey (Daisy Ridley), came from. With a only brief flashback showing her as a child being pulled away from her parents by Unkar Plutt, the theories ran rampant, from her being the daughter of Luke Skywalker or Han Solo and General Leia, to perhaps being the granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
And while director J.J. Abrams started the quandary over Rey's origins, the person ultimately tasked with deciding who Rey's parents were was Johnson in The Last Jedi. In the film, of course, Johnson left it up to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) to tell the woman destined to be a Jedi that her parents were basically a pair of ne'er-do-well junk traders, effectively signaling to Rey that she was ultimately going to define herself. It wasn't the neat and tidy conclusion that fans were expecting, but for Johnson it was the idea that made the most sense for the story he wanted to tell.
As it turns out, coming to the conclusion of who Rey's parents were in The Last Jedi was a long and complicated one for the filmmaker, and on the /Filmcast Podcast, Johnson said he had a "big ass document" that listed a wide range of ideas. Effectively, "everything" was on the table. He said:
“I honestly listed everything I could think of. Even awful possibilities where I said, ‘This is not what we’re going to do.’ I mean the less silly one was, ‘Is she a clone?’ Anything that’s a theory on Reddit now I guarantee was listed on that document.”
The idea deemed "the silliest" by Johnson, though, seems to be grounded in the climactic third act in The Empire Strikes Back, after Luke lost his right hand in his thrilling lightsaber duel with Darth Vader. Johnson says:
"The silliest one was, ‘Is she a robot?’ Okay, we’ve seen a biomechanical realistic flesh hand on Luke, could the technology have advanced significantly in the 30 years, and then I just started laughing. Look forward to the ‘Rey was almost a robot’ headlines.”
There's no question Johnson knows he made the right move by not making Rey a robot, which no doubt would have turned the Star Wars universe upside down (if he thought the backlash from fans is intense now, imagine if he had revealed that Rey was essentially a mechanical cousin to BB-8). Besides, if he would have explored the idea a bit, he would have eventually arrived at the conclusion of The Force Awakens, where Luke showed as he peeled back his hood on his Jedi robes that the shelf life on realistic flesh on cybernetics is less than 30 years. Then he'd have to explain how Rey looks like a battle-damaged version of the Terminator.
No matter whether fans agree with the way Johnson handled the question of Rey's parentage, it's fun to hear the behind-the-scenes ideas that went into one of the biggest revelations in the first two films in the new Star Wars trilogy. Of course, since Johnson says the question over Rey's parentage is "still open," Abrams may just end up revealing that the mystery of her background was just a ruse by Kylo to manipulate Rey's emotions, and have a different revelation about where she came from in Episode IX. After all, Abrams posed the whole question of who Rey is in the first place, he may very well answer it, too.
Source: /Filmcast Podcast
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019