SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains massive spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If you have not yet seen the film, and don't wish to know any major details about it before you do, please bookmark this article and return after your screening!

Director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi is full of shocking events and revelations, but few are on par with the information disclosed regarding Rey's parents. Fans have spent years speculating who the heroine's mother or father could be, guessing that it could be someone as important as Obi-wan Kenobi... but the ultimate answer is "None of the Above." As told to Rey by Kylo Ren, her parents were nobodies who sold her on Jakku and then died a few years later. It's epic news to learn, but Johnson recently revealed to me why he decided that it was the move that had to be made:

For me it was a dramatic choice. It was just that her hearing - and also for the audience hearing that... if the answer had been, that's presented in this movie at least, in this context. If the answer presented to her was, 'Your parents are so-and-so, here you go, here's your place in this story.' That would be the easiest thing for her to hear. And easiest thing for us to hear! Wish fulfillment. It's like, 'Oh, great! That's who I am. That's that.' The hardest thing she could hear is, 'No, you're not going to get that answer, that definition.' In fact, the fact that you don't have that is going to be used against you by Kylo, to try and make you lean on him. You're going to have to find the strength to define yourself and stand on your own two feet.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Rian Johnson and Star Wars: The Last Jedi producer Ram Bergman at a special press day in Los Angeles yesterday, and it was there that I had the opportunity to dive deep into spoilers from the film. One major topic of discussion was the subject of Rey's family and where she came from, and Johnson explained why he felt that it was the choice that needed to be made for the story he was telling.

While not every fan has reacted positively to this reveal about Rey's parents, Rian Johnson also makes a very strong point about why he made the decision -- without even mentioning the argument that giving Rey a famous relative would make the Star Wars universe feel too small. Since the character was first introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey has been a protagonist full of inner conflict, largely spurring from the fact that she doesn't really know who she is and where's she really comes from. To have her learn some kind of easy answer about a noble ancestry would not only immediately zap away that important conflict, but would also totally freeze and dismantle her important journey of self-discovery. Without the simple explanation, the heroine must stand on her own and carve out her own path, rather than just follow one already carved out for her.

Going further, Rian Johnson went on to explain that his choice regarding Rey's parents was also very much inspired by particular revelations in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, which you can read about on the next page:

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