Why Retconning Rey's Parents in 'Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker' Is a Mistake

Daisy Ridley says J.J. Abrams will "answer" more questions about Rey's parents. But do we need to?

The only thing I like about this piece of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker news is that we, as a society, have a recorded interview of Daisy Ridley using the word “dealio.” That’s the only thing good about it because the rest of the quote means we’re getting a J.J. Abrams special — an unnecessary answer to an unnecessary question about the Star Wars sandbox universe.

While promoting her latest role in the Shakespeare thriller Ophelia, Daisy Ridley told USA Today that the next film in the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, will reveal more about Rey’s mystery parents.

“(Director J.J. Abrams) did say the question is answered,” Ridley told USA Today, “So at the end of the film, you do know what the dealio is.”

Genuinely love “dealio,” but what I don’t love is a possible reversal to one of the best twists in Star Wars of all time, second only to Vader as Luke’s father.

You heard me right. Rey’s parentage was a brilliant, sublime twist in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and I truly hope Abrams doesn’t overturn Rian Johnson’s idea to make Rey’s parents as insignificant to the story as possible.

To recap: Fans met Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as an orphaned junker barely carving out an existence on Jakku. After Rey gets swept up in an adventure that puts her face to face with Kylo Ren, she embarks on a search for Luke Skywalker to learn the ways of the Force.

Star Wars The Last Jedi Daisy Ridley
Daisy Ridley as "Rey" in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' (2017).

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a movie about self-inspection and measuring oneself to expectations, Rey learns — immediately following one of the most story rich lightsaber duels of all time — that her parents were, in this vast universe, nobodies. No prodigal daughters, no chosen ones spoken by prophecies. Just a nobody who stumbled into something bigger than herself.

“They were filthy junk traders,” Kylo Ren tells her. “Sold you off for drinking money. They’re dead in a pauper’s grave in a junker’s desert.”

This was brilliant. With The Force Awakens, the saga dangled “Who is Rey’s parents?” as yet another major mystery to keep in the spirit of Star Wars tradition — and in Empire Strikes Back (also the second in a trilogy) Luke learned his father was Darth Vader, a reveal that rocked literally a whole generation.

Going into The Last Jedi, fans invested in Rey’s big reveal with high expectations. We guessed her to be the lost child of someone important; is she Han’s daughter? Luke’s? Obi-Wan’s? A clone of Anakin or the Emperor? Any one of these would have been seismic.

But to continue adding to a single family tree in Star Wars feels small for a vast galaxy far, far away. So it was a “twist” that Rey, a powerful new hero for a new generation, actually comes from literally nowhere.

As The Last Jedi illustrates in its final scene showing poor stable kids telling each other stories with a Luke Skywalker doll, these stories are our stories. Many of us are nobodies, and to have Rey “not matter” because her parentage isn’t noble or significant is a bold, inspiring leap away from the thousands of other stories led by “important” protagonists.

I’m hoping I’m wrong, and I’m hoping Ridley is only saying Abrams will “answer” the question. Not “fix” it, or “twist” it to change and satisfy fans who actually want Rey to be Obi-Wan’s kid or some garbage. The Last Jedi had its share of problems, but not giving fans the satisfaction that Rey is yet another Skywalker or whatever isn’t one of them. I hope she never is.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released in theaters on December 20.

Media via Lucasfilm