One of the biggest questions coming out of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, aside from the long-lasting effects of patricide, was who Rey’s parents really are. Daisy Ridley’s character was clearly introduced as our new hero of this brand new Star Wars trilogy, but the fact that she’s an orphan with unnamed parents who abandoned her at a young age was no mistake. Obviously there’s a big reveal there. And that reveal is coming in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
However, coming up with the answer to the Rey’s parentage question was tackled with independence from both J.J. Abrams and Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson. In a new profile in Rolling Stone, Abrams says he told Ridley the answer while they were making The Last Jedi, but he didn’t force Johnson to be beholden to his answer:
Unlike almost everyone else in the world, Ridley has known for years who Rey’s parents are, since Abrams told her on the set of The Force Awakens. Ridley believes that nothing ever changed: “I thought what I was told in the beginning is what it is.” Which is odd, because Johnson insists he had free rein to come up with any answer he wanted to the question. “I wasn’t given any directive as to what that had to be,” he says. “I was never given the information that she is this or she is that.”
In the end, Johnson’s answer was the same as Abrams’s, which Rolling Stone rightly points out probably means it’s pretty obvious. Or maybe not. They also state that Abrams “cryptically” hinted that he and Johnson had more coordination than Johnson let on. I think what Johnson was stressing here was that he was not forced to use Abrams’ answer to Rey’s parentage, but the two likely discussed it at some point.
But for those worried that Johnson didn’t have “all the answers” when embarking on The Last Jedi—that’s kind of how storytelling works:
“The truth is, stories are made up! Whether somebody made this whole thing up 10 years ago and put it on a whiteboard and we all have to stick to that, or whether we’re organically finding it as we move forward, it doesn’t mean that any less thought is being put into it.”
Abrams no doubt mapped a broad arc when he made The Force Awakens, but he left plenty up in the air for Johnson to make his own. Now it’s Abrams’ turn to pick up where Johnson left off and conclude this thing with Star Wars: Episode IX.