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‘The Last Jedi’: Rian Johnson Explains Why Shattering Fan Theories About Rey’s Parents Was Essential


Spoiler Warning: This article discusses the major plot points of “The Last Jedi.”

Rian Johnson isn’t finished talking about “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” spoilers, which means polarizing fan reactions will continue to thrive well into the new year. The director’s recent interview with The Huffington Post is causing quite the stir among “Star Wars” fans online due to a cryptic line in which Johnson says “anything’s still open,” which the interviewer relates to the mystery surrounding Rey’s parents even though Johnson is speaking more generally.

“The Last Jedi” seemed to have answered the question mark hanging over Rey’s parentage when Kylo Ren revealed that her mother and father were not anyone famous in the “Star Wars” canon and not anyone special at all, for that matter. He said her parents were poor drunk gamblers who sold Rey off, and he forced her to confront the feeling that she always knew this was the truth as well. Rey even confirmed she knew deep down they were no one special.

The answer was bound to be a disappointment for anyone who spent the hiatus between “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” speculating and theorizing who Rey’s parents were and whether or not she was a Skywalker or some other important offspring.

Johnson told HuffPo that when he was writing the script for “The Last Jedi” and it came time to address Rey’s parents, the reveal was going to have to answer the following question in a way that best serviced Rey’s arc moving forward: “What’s going to make life hardest on her?” Johnson says that when Luke learns Darth Vader is his father in “The Empire Strikes Back” it’s “the hardest thing the character could possibly hear in that moment.” For Rey, the hardest thing would be hearing she’s not special at all.

“And same thing with Rey and her parentage,” Johnson said. “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.’”

The reveal in “The Last Jedi” shattered a majority of fan theories, but some people have persisted that Kylo’s story is just a diversion and that he’s lying to Rey and that Episode IX will reveal the actual truth about the character’s parentage. HuffPo’s interview only feeds the fire when it states that “Johnson told us the truth is still ‘open.’”

“Anything’s still open, and I’m not writing the next film,” he said. “[J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio] are doing it.” Johnson appeared to be speaking more about the franchise as a whole, but technically that would also include the actual truth behind Rey’s parents.

Johnson’s statement has left the possibility open for more clarification about Rey’s parents moving forward into the next installment. But if Kylo’s words end up just being a fake out, anyone who enjoyed the twist in “The Last Jedi” will surely be disappointed. Either way, the resolution about Rey’s parents will remain one of the most divisive parts of the new “Star Wars” trilogy.

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