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Rian Johnson explains decision-making behind Rey's parentage

**SPOILERS AHEAD FOR STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI**

When people walked out of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS one of the top questions on people’s brain balls was, “What is that Rey girl’s deal? Who are her parents?” We all assumed she had some mythic, epic parentage, but LAST JEDI swatted all that down when Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) told Rey (Daisy Ridley) that she came from nothing and that she was nothing (but not to him).

This is one element of the movie fans are decrying, either refusing to accept Ren’s statement as truth or just completely pissed that none of their theories were right. But director/writer Rian Johnson is sticking by the move, and recently explained to the Empire podcast how the whole idea came about:

 I went through all the possibilities of who her parents could be. I made a list, with the upsides and downsides. There were two things about this option that made it feel right to me. Firstly. I like the idea that we’re breaking out from the notion that the force is this genetic thing that you have to be tied to somebody to have. It’s the ‘anybody can be president’ idea.

As a result, this carves out Rey’s own place in the story so that she is not defined by whoever her parents may have been, and that she can control her own destiny:

For me, if Rey had gotten the answer that she’s related to so-and-so, had learned her place in the story, that would be the easiest thing she can hear. The hardest thing to hear is, ‘nope, this not going to define you.’ And in fact, Kylo is going to use this to try and undercut your confidence so you’ll feel you have to lean on him for your identity. And you’re going to have to make the choice to find your own identity in this story.

The big reveal came after a series of epic moments (Ren killing Snoke; Ren and Rey fighting Praetorian Guards; Holdo blasting her ship through the First Order’s fleet), with Ren telling Rey that her parents were junk traders and that they were “buried in a pauper’s grave on Jakku.” Then he said she had “no place in this story”, all before she Force-pushed him and said, “How’s that for “place”?” Okay, that last bit wasn’t true.

Fans have been debating and bickering over Johnson's move when it came to Rey’s parents, a decision I think is pure brilliance. It turns Rey into an independent figure and embraces the idea that you need to come from something to become something. Rey is brimming with power, and now her story will be about making her own future as opposed to trying to figure out the past.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is in theaters now!

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