And here we are again! In the run-up and wake of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a lot was written about the possible lineage of Daisy Ridley’s superpowered desert scavenger Rey. I should know, as I did a lot of the writing. Several theories popped up to try and explain why Rey had such a preternaturally strong connection to the Force. Some were great, others were laughably dumb, one made a lot of sense: Rey was actually the granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the great Jedi Master who trained Anakin Skywalker and set Luke Skywalker on his heroic path. The Star Wars mythology even allowed for it, as we know there was a period in Obi-Wan’s life when he had a romantic interlude, shrouded in secrecy, with the Mandalorian Duchess Satine. If that’s not the kind of lineage you want for the brand new lightsaber-wielding heroine of your franchise, one in which Mandalorians are currently taking center stage, then I don’t know.
Of course, as things turned out, that wasn’t the lineage that Disney wanted. In Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, a plot twist reveal informed us that Rey had no special parentage at all. She was just a regular old nobody who happened to be strong in the Force. Except then Abrams came back for The Rise of Skywalker and suddenly Rey was actually the granddaughter of the evil Emperor Palpatine who was now also mysteriously back from the dead as part of a crossover promo with Fortnite or something. WHAT?!
So what the hell happened? Out of the these three options, what was the actual plan for Rey? All three, it seems, depending on who you asked and when. That’s what Ridley has now revealed while speaking to Josh Gad as he guest-hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live!
When asked about whether she had to keep the secret of Rey’s lineage from the start, Ridley explained that she never really knew for sure, but originally she was supposed to be a Kenobi.
At the beginning, there was toying with an Obi-Wan connection — there were different versions — then it really went to it was no one, and then it came to episode nine and J.J. [Abrams] pitched me the film and was like ‘Oh, yeah, Palpatine is granddaddy.’
Continuing on, Ridley explained that even while shooting of The Rise of Skywalker, Disney and Abrams were still going back and forth on their plans.
Then two weeks later he was like, ‘Oh, we’re not sure,’ So, it kept changing. So, then even as we were filming, I wasn’t sure what the answer was going to be.
Naturally, this has prompted a very strong response from fans with #ReyKenobi trending on social media. As several folks on Twitter posted, having Rey be revealed as a Kenobi in The Rise of Skywalker would have made so much sense in terms of the overall saga’s arcs and themes.
Personally, I’m still in favour of Johnson’s approach of making her a nobody, just for how it opened up the world of Star Wars to embrace more than just a tiny group of characters in a massive universe. Of course, Abrams and Disney even had the opportunity for a compromise at the end of The Rise of Skywalker when Rey is asked to give her last name. Having her respond with “It’s just Rey” would have been such a powerful statement of self-realization, not to mention tying into the threads that a new path needed to be taken for the Jedi. Instead, she declared herself a Skywalker and it took every ounce of my will power to hold myself in my cinema seat instead of launching up and screaming in frustrated anguish. Sigh.
Just to be clear, I don’t hate the new Star Wars trilogy at all. In fact, there’s quite a bit in all three movies that I genuinely enjoy (The Force Awakens being a ridiculously fun blast, The Last Jedi being a marvel of visuals and ideas, The Rise of Skywalker boasting some fantastic action). But there’s no denying that Disney dropped the ball overall when it came to realizing this new saga. Blame it on the lack of a properly thought out plan (which, admittedly, was the same for the previous trilogies), on overreaching with franchise saturation, on the untimely death of a key cast member, or just plain bumbling mismanagement, but it could have been better.
Luckily, this galaxy far, far away that I have loved for so long still has a lot more stories left to tell. And I will be there for all of them.
Last Updated: September 10, 2020