Warning SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi Ahead
Rian Johson, the director of The Last Jedi, has defended his decision one of the movie's most controversial reveals. Before Last Jedi opened one of the movie's most anticipated questions was the identity of Rey's parents. The theories were incredibly voluminous. Yet almost all of them circled around the fact that the Rey was someone important. At the very least, she was related to someone of importance. Yet in The Last Jedi the exact opposite was proven true.
It's revealed to Rey (and the audience) by Kylo Ren that her parents were, in fact, nobody special. They abandoned her, not to protect her or for any grand purpose, but just to get some extra money by selling her into servitude. In a movie that subverts many fan expectations, the reveal has quickly become of the most controversial. It's unprecedented, really, for a Star Wars protagonist to not have some grand familial destiny. Yet Rian Johnson explained that was exactly the point of the reveal.
In an interview with LA Times, Johnson was asked why the decision was made to NOT reveal that Rey was from a lineage of "'special' Jedi Kin." He responded:
"It felt like the way to go because it’s the hardest thing that she could possibly hear. It would be the easy thing for her to be defined by, "Yes, this is how you fit into this story — it’s because your parent is so and so!” In that moment, for Kylo to be able to use that [information] as a knife and twist it to try and get what he wants, felt like the most dramatically potent option."
Johnson's defense doesn't seem like it'll be explanation that will win many disgruntled fans over. However, Johnson does have a very valid point. The non-reveal is a heartbreaking moment for Rey because it confirms to her that, despite her powers, she isn't "special." Rey doesn't have a great bloodline or legacy to live up to, like Luke or Ben Solo. She's simply herself, which makes her different from the average Star Wars protagonist, but it also makes her unique. The Last Jedi takes pains to separate itself for the past and begin a new era for Star Wars, the reveal of Rey's parentage is yet another step in that (refreshing) direction.
However, Johnson's comments do open the door for a possible retcon. Johnson mentions that the information is meant to hurt Rey and that it's delivered by Kylo Ren. Fans upset with the reveal have already become convinced that Kylo Ren was lying to Rey about her parentage. Rather than deny that Kylo was lying, Johnson's statements seem to (or could) confirm that theory; even if that probably wasn't his intention.
The ambiguity in Johnson's statements and the moment in question, means that the door is still open for the reveal to be reversed after The Last Jedi. Regardless if that might be the best thing for the story, or saga, at large.
Source: LA Times
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018