The teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a big deal. For four decades fans have embraced the story of the Skywalker family and its place in the battle between the dark and light sides of the Force. But now the fans are going to have to get used to something new, something unlike the template of the Star Wars movies they watched growing up, and made into one of the biggest franchises in cinema history: a movie without a Skywalker. But that doesn’t mean devotees aren’t looking for another kind of familial connection anyway.
Now, there’s a mini controversy brewing about the parentage of Rogue One’s newest lead character, Jyn Erso.
The reputation of the first seven movies of the Star Wars saga will inevitably overshadow anything new, and it’s the series’ own history that’s stirred up the new argument. Actress Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso in Rogue One. She’s a kind of disobedient non-conformist character that’s reminiscent of Han Solo.
Despite the ubiquitous popularity of the saga, Disney and Lucasfilm are going to have a difficult time getting the point across of when exactly Rogue One takes place in the Star Wars timeline. Will general audience realize that this is a prequel right after they were newly acquainted to the universe via The Force Awakens? Where’s the connective tissue and what will separate this from the other films? It’s that same sense of being overshadowed that has lead fans on social media to ask, “Is Jyn Erso Rey’s mom?”
As far as we know, Jyn isn’t connected to Rey in any way. Nothing in the Rogue One trailer even suggests anything like that. But the question of what their relation could be is an organic reaction for non-obsessives and fans alike because of the inherited nature of the series. Unfortunately Jyn’s relation to Rey is being questioned for various inconsequential reasons.
Star Wars pioneered the shared universe, and up until now the relatively small universe within the movie has dealt with a large swatch of inter-connected characters that continually pop up to be friends, enemies, sisters, brothers, fathers, and mothers of each other. How could you blame people for being curious about two strong lead female characters when the entire saga is based on one of the biggest character reveals in movie history?
Besides being mathematically and narratively inconsistent — Jyn would have to have disappeared for three movies in the chronological timeline and birthed Rey late in life following the events of Return of the Jedi — the assumption, at least according to angry people on the internet, suggests the Jyn-as-Rey’s-mother question is somehow sexist.
But people angry at the supposed sexism inherent in thinking any female Star Wars character with brown hair and an English accent might be Rey’s mother, or that we’re only allowed to have female characters from one family, are missing the point.
It’s pure, innocent fan speculation about movies that deal specifically with family ties. Would it be any more absurd to suggest at this point that that Jyn could just as easily end up being Captain Phasma or something? Any gripes should really be aimed towards Disney and Lucasfilm’s handling of familiarizing audiences with the first non-episodic Star Wars movie instead of people wondering whether lead characters are related to one another.
The Star Wars universe is vast. In the lead up to Rogue One It’s just going to take people a minute to realize how different it can be too.
Rogue One: A Star Wars story hits theaters on December 16.