Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ahead.
One of the co-writers of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has defended the decision to change Rey’s lineage from what had been established in The Last Jedi. The biggest question that fans were asking going into The Force Awakens involved Rey’s true identity, as many people speculated that she was the daughter of Luke Skywalker, a descendant of Obi-Wan Kenobi, or related to any number of Jedi or Sith who appeared in the extended Star Wars universe.
The question of Rey’s parentage was answered in The Last Jedi when Kylo Ren told her that her parents were nobodies who sold her for drinking money. This turned out to be one of the more interesting aspects of The Last Jedi, as it meant that the power of the Force wasn’t restricted to a few different families and the potential to be a powerful Jedi or Sith wasn’t restricted to the Skywalker bloodline. It soon became clear that J.J. Abrams was throwing this plot twist out of the window in The Rise of Skywalker, as Kylo Ren was claiming that he knew Rey’s true story in promos for the film.
It has now been revealed in The Rise of Skywalker that Rey is descended from Emperor Palpatine, completely throwing out the many fan theories about Rey’s parentage. On Twitter, user Kaila Spencer has uploaded videos from an Academy screening of The Rise of Skywalker that included a sitdown Q&A with J.J. Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio. The question of why Rey’s backstory was changed to make her a Palpatine was answered by Terrio, who claimed that Rey needed a present problem to deal with, which took the form of the Emperor and his role in the story. Terrio also described the previous decision to make Rey a nobody as part of Rey discovering herself, with The Rise of Skywalker giving Rey the chance to recreate herself.
The Rise of Skywalker has been accused of purposely retconning or removing elements from The Last Jedi that the creative team didn’t like, including the way in which Holdo sacrificed herself, pushing Rose into the background, and Kylo Ren fixing his helmet after discarding it. The whole movie feels like a course correction on the part of the creative team, following the polarizing response to The Last Jedi and the way it changed the series.
The decision to make Rey a descendant of Emperor Palpatine is something that could have worked if it had been built up over the course of the sequel trilogy, but adding it to the last movie after telling the audience that Rey’s parents were meaningless in the previous film feels forced. Terrio claimed that Rey needed a present-tense threat to deal with, but surely Kylo Ren and the First Order could easily have filled that role on their own?
Next: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Confirmed Palpatine Was [SPOILER]
Source: kaila ren/Twitter