J.J. Abrams Rey's Parents

We all know the story by now: Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced us to Rey (Daisy Ridley), a young woman who was abandoned by her parents on Jakku to live the life of a scavenger. She’s eventually swept into galactic action, but the question of her parentage loomed large over the film.

Star Wars fandom spent two years speculating about who her parents were, until Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi gave a definitive answer: they were no one of any importance. But now Simon Pegg, who played a role in The Force Awakens and is a longtime collaborator of writer/director J.J. Abrams, says Abrams’ initial plan for Rey’s parents was very different.

Rey’s Parents

In The Last Jedi, Rey searches for answers about her parents in a cave on Ahch-To and finds only a reflection of herself. Later, during one of her conversations with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), he pushes her to say out loud what she’s known for her whole life:

Kylo: “Do you know the truth about your parents? Or have you always known? You’ve just hidden it away. … Say it.”

Rey: “They were nobody.”

Kylo: “They were filthy junk traders. Sold you off for drinking money. They’re dead in a pauper’s grave in the Jakku desert. You come from nothing. You’re nothing…but not to me.”

For some, that was a heartbreaking reveal. For others, it represented the democratization of the Force. Not every great warrior has to come from a powerful family. Anyone can have greatness inside them.

But apparently, this was not what Abrams had in mind.

J.J. Abrams’ Plan For Rey’s Parents

In a new interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, actor Simon Pegg revealed that Abrams’ initial outline for Rey’s parents was far more traditional. Host Josh Horowitz excerpted Pegg’s quote on Twitter:

“A Relevant Lineage”

Pegg’s quote is fascinating for a number of reasons. We also know Abrams and Johnson spoke specifically about this topic before Johnson started writing the script for The Last Jedi, but Abrams didn’t force his ideas (no pun intended) on Johnson: “[J.J.] might have had thoughts in his head who it was going to be, but he didn’t dictate them to me,” Johnson told us. But other interviews indicated that the two actually came to the same conclusion about Rey’s heritage. So maybe Abrams changed his mind? Maybe Pegg had conversations with Abrams so early in the game that he was hearing very early ideas that eventually evolved into what we learned about her in The Last Jedi?

But if you look at The Force Awakens, there appear to be remnants of J.J.’s original conception of Rey’s parents. Go back and watch some of those scenes, and it feels like there might be some holdovers from a previous draft: Rey bonding with Han and especially Rey hugging Leia (before Leia’s old pal Chewbacca gets acknowledged) could indicate that Abrams wanted her to be related to them in some way.

Knowing this, it’s going to be even more fascinating to see how Abrams takes the baton from Johnson and moves forward to wrap up the story in Star Wars: Episode 9. Will he engage in some storytelling gymnastics in order to have the narrative conform to his initial plan, or will he roll with what Johnson established and keep Rey’s lineage as is? We’ll find out on December 20, 2019.

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