Could J.J. Abrams Change Rey's Parentage In Episode IX?

Daisy Ridley

One of the two biggest questions heading in to Star Wars: The Last Jedi was "Who are Rey's parents?" We were all on the edge of our seat waiting for Rian Johnson to reveal the answer like Maury Povich opening the results of a paternity test. So it was understandable when some audiences felt a little deflated when Kylo Ren told Rey that her parents were nobodies. But in the time since The Last Jedi, many have speculated that Kylo Ren could have been lying and that J.J. Abrams could change Rey's parentage when he returns for Episode IX. Actor Simon Pegg has indicated that J.J. Abrams initially had something else in mind for Rey, as he explained:

Well I know what J.J. kind of intended, or at least what was sort of being chucked around. I think that's kind of been undone slightly by the last one. I don't know. I don't know. I think Unkar Plutt is Rey's real father... There was some talk about, you know, a kind of relevant lineage for her. But I honestly don't know, and I don't know if anybody knows. We shall see.

That certainly seems to indicate that J.J. Abrams had an answer to Rey's parentage that was not the one given by Rian Johnson in The Last Jedi. Simon Pegg jokes on MTV's Happy Sad Confused Podcast about Unkar Plutt being Rey's father, but he also says that Rey may have had a relevant lineage. Relevant means recognizable names, which would put in play all the various Force-wielding legends we speculated about prior to The Last Jedi's release. It seems likely that the Lukes, Obi-Wans, Palpatines and Hans of that galaxy far, far away could have been likely candidates. Although Rian Johnson's film may have undone J.J. Abrams' initial plan, it is something that could be easily changed with a line of dialogue stating that Kylo Ren lied. Whether J.J. and Lucasfilm choose to go in that direction, though, is another matter.

This sort of uncertainty is one of the pitfalls faced by the new Star Wars trilogy. As J.J. Abrams is wont to do in his projects, he introduced questions that may or may not have had answers, and even if there were answers, Lucasfilm and Rian Johnson were seemingly not beholden to them. J.J. Abrams replacing Colin Trevorrow and returning to close out the trilogy he started puts him in an interesting position to potentially change Rey's parentage back to what he intended. As Josh Horowitz notes in his discussion with Simon Pegg, we don't know exactly what George Lucas intended in his original treatments for Episodes VII-IX. Making Rey's parents nobodies was right for Rian Johnson's story, but changing them to somebodies might be right for J.J. Abrams' story. It's tough because without a predetermined trilogy arc laid out before Episode 7, there isn't really a 'right' answer.

It will be especially interesting to see what J.J. Abrams does with Episode IX. Does he spend time undoing what Rian Johnson did? And how is Rian Johnson supposed to take that because it completely negates the message of his film? And if Abrams does give Rey some special or important heritage, how do we divorce that from the backlash to The Last Jedi? If J.J. Abrams does call Kylo Ren a liar, hopefully it is because that is what is right for his story and not because of divided fan sentiment.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. If you didn't like it the first time, or had issues with the answers Rian Johnson gave, give it another watch; you might find your opinion changes on a second viewing.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.