One of the more intriguing aspects of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is the revelation of Rey’s parentage. Since “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, fans have been speculating on the nature of Rey’s parentage. Most theorised that it could be Luke Skywalker; some speculated that it could be Obi-Wan Kenobi. But nobody expected Rian Johnson to take a sharp left turn.
In an exchange of words between Kylo Ren and Rey, it’s revealed that Rey’s parents are NOBODIES — junkers who sold her off for drinking money. This decision, among others, made by Rian Johnson split the Star Wars fandom in half. Some fans applaud Rian Johnson for his bold choices, while others accuse him of taking a shit on the Star Wars fanbase.
In an interview with Collider, Rian Johnson explains why he decided to make Rey come from nothing:
It definitely was something that kind of slowly emerged. The truth is that was never like a driving thing for me in the movie, and I’ve talked a little bit elsewhere about the big decision with Rey and her parents. That’s one of the big things. It’s cutting loose the idea that of her being special coming from lineage. And that is true and I do like that, and I think that’s a good thing.
However, Johnson goes on to explain that, that wasn’t the motivating factor behind his decision:
That wasn’t, though, the motivating factor behind that decision. It was more a dramatic decision of ‘What is the toughest thing she could hear about her parents? What is the thing for her and for us what will make her have to stand on her own two feet and will make things the hardest for her?’ Because she’s the hero and that’s her job—to have things be the hardest for her. So it came from that and the other element came along with that, which is something I really liked.
Johnson then further elaborates that it was a natural process of going in the direction that would make the most sense for the character:
But I didn’t sit down and think, ‘How do we overturn this whole thing of Star Wars lineage?’ That wasn’t the driving factor. It was almost a byproduct of a natural process of, ‘Oh, this is what’s going to make sense for her as a character, as a dramatic turn there. And that means this, and that’s kind of nice.’ It’s a strange, organic process, I guess.
If we can learn one thing from the quotes above, is that Rian Johnson doesn’t make his decisions just to appease the fandom and that’s GREAT. He’s a filmmaker who’s willing to take chances and make bold, possibly controversial decisions to tell a damn good story, even if it means disappointing a group of Star Wars fans. Great filmmakers always push the envelope.
I for one, love Rian Johnson’s decision. In my “The Last Jedi” analysis I mentioned how Johnson’s decision sends an important message that great people do not have to come from greatness. Take John Lennon for example, who grew up without a mother and lost his father when he was 17. Or Barack Obama, whose father was an alcoholic who abused his several wives.
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