‘The Last Jedi’ director hints that Rey’s parents may not matter

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What if Rey’s parents are just normal people, with no relevance to the main ‘Star Wars’ plot?

Rey‘s parentage is one of the biggest mysteries of the new Star Wars trilogy. Thematically, she follows in the footsteps of Luke and Anakin Skywalker. But does that mean she actually is a Skywalker? Could she be a Kenobi instead? Or are her parents just some random people we’ve never seen before?

Fans have speculated furiously about Rey’s family tree, hoping for some kind of answer in The Last Jedi. However, it’s entirely possible that we’ll never learn the truth—or that Rey’s birth parents aren’t actually relevant to the plot. In The Force Awakens, the three new heroes existed in the moment. The one character whose backstory really mattered was Kylo Ren because he’s obsessed with the past.

For Entertainment Weeklys new cover story about The Last Jedi, writer/director Rian Johnson shared his own thoughts on Rey’s parentage.

“To me, it’s important insofar as it’s important to her,” he said. “And I think it’s important to her in terms of what is her place in all of this? What’s going to define her in this story? She was told in the last movie that the answer’s not in the past; it’s looking forward. But she’s showing up on this island to talk to this hero from the past.”

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Johnson added that Rey retains a “lingering hope” of finding an answer about where she truly belongs. That doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll find her parents, or that it will make any difference if she does. Daisy Ridley seems to agree, saying that even if Rey finds her birth family, it won’t mean that “everything falls into shape.”

Luke and Leia’s parentage became an iconic plot twist in the original trilogy, echoed in later movies with Anakin’s genetic origins and Kylo Ren’s family backstory. You could argue that a similar twist could cheapen Rey’s arc, making it too similar to previous films. The Force Awakens opened the third trilogy of the Skywalker saga, but that doesn’t mean the protagonist has to be a Skywalker herself. Luke, Leia, and Kylo Ren are still around, while Rey represents a fresh start after decades of family drama.

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested.