Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson sat down with EMPIRE for their Spoiler Special, revealing new details about his writing process. We’ve already written about another part of that podcast in which Johnson explains that the final scene with a force-sensitive kid almost didn’t make it into the movie. In the same interview, he also revealed why Rey’s parents were who they were.
Despite Adam Driver’s fakeout spoiler that suggested Rey would be a princess, and Maz Kanata’s insistence in The Force Awakens that Rey’s eyes looked familiar, her real parentage turned out to be far less prestigious. In The Last Jedi, Kylo tells Rey her parents were “nobodies.” They were supposedly scrap dealers on Jakku — now dead and buried in unmarked paupers’ graves back on Jakku — who traded her for drinking money.
There’s a chance Kylo was lying, but Johnson seems to support the truth of this statement, explaining why he liked the idea (as transcribed by We Got This Covered).
“I went through all the possibilities of who her parents could be. I made a list, with the upsides and downsides. There were two things about this option that made it feel right to me. Firstly. I like the idea that we’re breaking out from the notion that the force is this genetic thing that you have to be tied to somebody to have. It’s the ‘anybody can be president’ idea.”
Now Rey has to define herself instead of waiting for the identity of her parents to provide all the answers. Johnson went on:
“For me, if Rey had gotten the answer that she’s related to so-and-so, had learned her place in the story, that would be the easiest thing she can hear. The hardest thing to hear is, ‘nope, this not going to define you.’ And in fact, Kylo is going to use this to try and undercut your confidence so you’ll feel you have to lean on him for your identity. And you’re going to have to make the choice to find your own identity in this story.”
Hopefully she doesn’t end up leaning on Kylo for her identity. We think she knows well enough to stay away from him, especially when he has his shirt off.