In only a few days' time, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be arriving in our movie houses. Much like two years ago, not much has been let out ahead. There are trailers than have been obsessed over and treated like the Zapruder films, there are interviews where the actors attempt to say as little as possible. But other than Porgs, Star Wars: The Last Jedi had told us little, especially when it comes to Rey. We still don't even know her last name. Is Rey a Skywalker? Is Rey a Kenobi? How did she wind up with such a powerful connection to the Force?
Our lack of knowledge about Rey is why Maz Kanata's question of "Who are you?" in The Force Awakens two years ago was so iconic. And here it is, time for the second installment, and we still don't know.
Rian Johnson — who helmed the second film with such precision and lack of drama that he's been granted an entire new trilogy to develop — has promised that the question of who Rey is, and who her parents were, will be answered in this film.
But, there's a twist. As far as he's concerned, this is the wrong question to be asking altogether. It's only important to the film because it's important to Rey. But when it comes to the overall series? Not so much.
According to Johnson, learning who Rey's parents are isn't going to help her in the present.
To me, it’s important insofar as it’s important to her. And I think it’s important to her in terms of what is her place in all of this? What’s going to define her in this story? She was told in the last movie that the answer’s not in the past; it’s looking forward. But she’s showing up on this island to talk to this hero from the past.
Every hero has a fatal flaw, holding on to something, thinking it will give them answers, when there are none to be had. Luke, for instance, held onto the belief that there was good inside his father. There was, but that didn't change who Luke was, or his sister, or their family.
You can be told [‘the answer’s not in the past’], but I think she still has a lingering hope that she’s going to find the thing that’s going to say: This is where you belong. This is where you are. I think she still holds onto the thought that where she comes from will help define where she’s going.
The reason we as an audience want to tie Rey into the trilogy is because, up until now, this has been the story of the Skywalkers. Anakin Skywalker's fall dominated the prequels, Luke and Leia discovering that they were Anakin's children dominated the original trilogy. So it makes sense that Rey would also discover her to be a Skywalker, and related to Kylo Ren (who is actually Ben Skywalker-Solo.)
It might also make sense that Rey discovers she's not a Skywalker, but a Kenobi. Obi-Wan was a foil to the Skywalkers for two generations. First, he served as teacher to Anakin, the light mentor to the dark pupil. Then to Luke, before passing it on to Yoda, trying to help someone who struggled between both paths to find the right one.
It would make sense to come full circle, and have Rey be a Kenobi, now the pupil, leaning towards the light, under the tutelage of a dark mentor Skywalker. It would be a satisfying twist on the story, and a reminder that, to quote another sci-fi tale, "All this has happened before and all this will happen again."
But, then again, Rey could be no one. When Anakin was found as strong as he was, who were Skywalkers? No one. Lineage doesn't matter with the Force. Maybe it's time it left the Skywalkers behind, too.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theaters on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017.