SPOILERS for The Last Jedi
Even though Rey's parentage was seemingly revealed in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, director Rian Johnson says the truth is "still open" as the sequel trilogy approaches Episode IX. Following the character's introduction in The Force Awakens, Rey's origins were highly debated within the fan community, as a plethora of theories were generated. Scouring anything they could for clues, viewers believed Rey could be Luke Skywalker's daughter, Obi-Wan Kenobi's granddaughter, or even a descendant of Emperor Palpatine. Daisy Ridley made sure to debunk some more outlandish ones prior to Episode VIII's premiere, but Lucasfilm kept a tight lid on the secrets until the film came out.
In an emotionally-charged scene following Kylo Ren and Rey's disposal of Supreme Leader Snoke's praetorian guards, the former Ben Solo attempts to sway his frenemy towards the dark side by hitting her with a tough revelation about her parents. Pressuring Rey to admit the truth she's buried deep in her mind, Kylo tells her (and the audience) she was born to two junkers who sold her off for drinking money and are currently dead in a paupers' grave. Because Ren is the villain, there's been some speculation he was actually lying. Johnson believes Kylo is telling the truth, but there's apparently some room for interpretation.
"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.’
“Anything’s still open, and I’m not writing the next film. [J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio] are doing it."
Fans will latch on to the "anything's still open" part of these comments as a sign their elaborate Rey theories could still have some life, but there are important things to keep in mind. For starters, one of the main themes of The Last Jedi is that a hero can come from anywhere (and not just a legendary bloodline), which is what makes the final shot of the infamous broom kid so emotionally resonant. It would fly in the face of Episode VIII's message if Rey's parentage was retconned to be something more "substantial." Additionally, J.J. Abrams loved Johnson's pitch for Last Jedi, and the two had numerous conversations while the latter was working on his script. Odds are, they were on the same page on this matter, and Abrams will opt to not address it in Star Wars 9. After all, Abrams had Maz Kanata tell Rey her family (whoever they are) was never coming back.
As for the belief Kylo is lying in an attempt to manipulate his rival, the safe money would be on him being truthful. Recalling the scene, it's Rey who initially says her parents were nobody and Kylo simply elaborates on what he saw in his vision. At this point, every other prominent Rey theory has been disproven, so there doesn't seem to be much else to add to the conversation. Johnson is right in saying since he's not involved with Episode IX, Abrams and Terrio could alter a few things, but it looks like we've heard the last of Rey's parentage. She's moving on with the Resistance and a new Jedi Order in her future, so viewers would be advised to do the same.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019