Many of the vocal complaints around “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” all tied back to expectations, be it ones from many years of fandom to more recently potential story directions in the wake of J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.
Before release, one of the most speculated on subplots was that of Rey and her lineage. Setup as only a very minor element in ‘Force Awakens’, the question over the identity of Rey’s parents quickly grew as fandom fuelled it with wild theories. Through all these theories though, almost all had her as the child of someone important in the “Star Wars” universe – namely a Skywalker, a Solo or someone else in the previous films.
When Rian Johnson’s film made it clear her parents were essentially nobodies in the greater scheme of the universe, it was a genuine surprise. Some welcomed it – it meant the Force wasn’t reliant on bloodlines, and it re-democratised it as a talent some are just naturally gifted at like music or math.
Others hated it because it not only ruined their theories, it was just seemingly yet one more element of the film that confirmed reports that Disney and Lucasfilm went into this new trilogy without any real plan in mind and so were winging it. Johnson himself has indicated Abrams didn’t have much interaction with the story or development of ‘Last Jedi’.
Daisy Ridley changed that notion a bit recently, saying Abrams wrote drafts for Episode VIII and Episode IX, and Johnson re-wrote his episode entirely and didn’t keep much of anything from Abrams draft. Now, in a recent Happy Sad Confused podcast, actor Simon Pegg suggested that Abrams did have intentions for Rey’s parents that were different to Johnson:
“I know what J.J. intended or at least [the idea of] what was being chucked around. I think that’s been undone slightly by the [‘The Last Jedi’]… There was some talk about a kind of relevant lineage for her… But I honestly don’t know, and I don’t know if anyone knows, we’ll see.”
With Abrams back in the ‘Episode IX’ chair, could that moment in ‘Last Jedi’ be undone? Johnson has said that while he intended in the moment for what Kylo tells Rey to be true, there’s the possibility Abrams’ film could reveal that to be a lie. Either way, this debate is only just getting started.