J.J. Abrams being J.J. Abrams, he had to put some mysteries into Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and now fans are trying to open those boxes like “Who are Rey’s parents?” and “Who is Snoke?” and so forth. The mystery surrounding Rey’s parents is probably at the top of the list when it comes to what fans want to know about a character who has no last name, and they’ll get their answer in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Speaking to EW, director Rian Johnson explains that the answer surrounding Rey’s parentage is important not in the grand scheme of things, but because of how it informs her character:
“To me, it’s important insofar as it’s important to her,” Johnson says. “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.”
However, as Daisy Ridley points out, Rey discovering her parents’ identity won’t be a Rosetta Stone that unlocks everything for her in the future:
“You can always look for answers and that doesn’t mean that the rest of your life is so easy. It’s not like, oh, I know who my parents are so now everything falls into shape, especially in the Star Wars world,” the actress says.
The actress further downplayed the importance of the discovery, adding:
“Yes, it would potentially change her mind, or at least give her a little bit more peace in moving forward. But ultimately what’s coming is coming, and whatever abilities she has are there. So, personally, I think it’s less important than even she may think.”
I think that’s the smart way to look at it. Let’s say, for arguments sake, that she’s Obi-wan Kenobi’s granddaughter. How does that change her life? Kenobi’s dead, so unless she starts communicating with his ghost, it doesn’t really change the larger problems she faces. She still has to train with Luke, the First Order is still out there, and we’ve got another movie left. Maybe there’s an “I am your father,” revelation out there, but it definitely sounds like they’re trying to lower audience expectations.
Speaking of origins, EW also reveals we’ll be learning a bit more about Finn’s background. It won’t be anything in depth, but we will learn about how he became a stormtrooper:
“We will learn more about his past and where he came from, and potentially why he made the decision [to escape] that he made,” John Boyega says. “I’m also very curious. The question that needs to be answered is why he decided to leave as a stormtrooper in the first place. We will find out just a little bit more about him.”
While these revelations are nice, I trust that Johnson is going to keep the narrative moving forward rather than having his characters constantly look at their past. There will surely be enough novels, comics, and more to fill in the gaps when it comes to backstory, and while learning some new details about these characters will be good, the most important thing is how this information serves the overall story.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens December 15th.