Sorry, Skywalker exceptionalists, turns out you can be a hero in the Star Wars galaxy without being the descendant of an immaculately conceived ‘chosen one.’
We’re now four months out from the release of The Force Awakens and the mystery of Rey’s parentage is still a burning question for fans, though, for many, they’d already assumed they’d solved it. It was clear that Rey simply had to be Luke’s daughter. Well, not so fast, says J.J. Abrams. During a Q&A at the Tribeca Film Festival, Abrams was asked point blank who Rey’s parents are. His answer?
— emily chi (@theemilychi) April 15, 2016
Did you catch that? If not, here’s the transcript:
Rey’s parents are not in Episode VII, so I can’t possibly in this moment tell you who they are… This is all I will say: this is something that Rey thinks about too.
So there it is. Luke’s not Rey’s father. Neither is Han or Snoke or Chewie or BB-8. I know this is going to cause lots of handwringing and gnashing of teeth amongst the fan community, but I could not be happier! I’ve been saying for ages now that having Rey be the literal daughter of Luke Skywalker is the most boring choice imaginable because it perpetuates this idea that heroism and proficiency with the Force is the exclusive birthright of this one super-special family. It’s far more interesting if, instead, Rey is not a Skywalker by birth, but by adoption, coming from a humble background and rising to be a hero because of some preordained destiny, but her own resolve and strength of character. The Skywalker family blade which has symbolically abandoned its previous owners as they have tasted the dark side falls not into the hands of the unworthy heir to the Skywalker lineage, but to an orphan, outside the family line who is more deserving of its legacy. You can keep having the boring, vaguely misogynistic debate over whether or not Rey is a ‘Mary Sue,’ but I’ll be over here simply excited that Star Wars is unshackling itself from its small universe and allowing the possibility for greatness to exist in anyone.
All that being said, I’m sure this is not going to stop fans with a boring insistence that, “only a Skywalker can have that kind of power” from over-analyzing Abrams’ comments searching for loopholes and inventing conspiracy theories. Already, I’m seeing people bring up Abrams outright lie regarding the identity of Benedict Cumberbatch’s character in Star Trek Into Darkness. The difference here, however, is that with Star Trek, Abrams was trying to protect a secret for a film that had not yet been released. The Force Awakens is out. Everyone’s seen it, and what’s more, the Star Wars story is no longer Abrams’ to tell. There is literally no reason for him to lie about this. But common logic rarely means much to the conspiratorially minded.
UPDATE: Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Abrams walked back his statement following the Q&A saying:
What I meant was that she doesn’t discover them in Episode VII. Not that they may not already be in her world.
What he’s doing here is equivocating; he’s making the statement as vague as possible so as to not shut out any possibilities. So, for fans who really want Star Wars to have a small universe, there’s your lifeline, but I’m still inclined to believe his more definitive statement was the more accurate.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter