– written by HanSpinel
Following on the heels of recent commentary by JJ Abrams that there’s more to the story regarding Rey’s parents, I revisited The Last Jedi. In this article, I will demonstrate that the dialogue written for Kylo Ren’s specific description of Rey’s “nobody” parents contain carefully planted clues to the contrary of an “irrelevant” lineage. I conclude that Rian Johnson’s script and written description of Rey’s parents explicitly lead back to exactly one (1) family: the Skywalkers. In other words, Rian Johnson has cleverly hidden the clues to Rey’s true parents in plain sight, and JJ Abrams will be concluding the saga by revealing Rey’s true origin story in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. This analysis further supports the Star Wars Shadow Council’s Definitive The Last Jedi Case for Rey Skywalker.
*Note: I provide an additional supporting piece of evidence that contains potential spoilers – well-marked and included at the very end of the article.
REY’S PARENTS: A RELEVANT LINEAGE ENDGAME
One of the main questions The Force Awakens left audiences with was: is Rey Luke Skywalker’s daughter? Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi seemed to steer away from that question altogether, “revealing” the concept that Rey’s parents were “nobody” and her lineage was irrelevant to the story. However, recent commentary from JJ Abrams suggests that Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker – will honor The Last Jedi, BUT that there’s much more to the story regarding Rey’s parents.
So did Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi truly deliver an unexpected outcome regarding Rey’s parents? Or, did he, in fact, cleverly hide Rey’s true parentage in plain sight? It’s been well documented that actor, Simon Pegg (Unkar Plutt), thought JJ Abram’s original intention for Rey’s family included a more relevant lineage:
“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.”
Was this relevant lineage undone in The Last Jedi? During an interview with Collider, Rian Johnson was asked directly if Rey came from nothing, and whether or not her parents are for sure buried in the Jakku desert. Instead of outright confirming this reveal to be true, Rian Johnson instead chose his words carefully, going so far as to bring up the ever present “from a certain point of view (FACPOV)” in Star Wars lore:
“That’s what Kylo sees and that’s what he tells her and I think he’s not lying in that moment. That’s what he saw and she seems to believe it when she hears it. I don’t want to … I’m not writing the next film, we’ll see how they handle it going forward, and as we all know in these movies, there’s always a certain point of view that’s involved.”
What Kylo Ren “saw” does not necessarily confirm the objective truth in the story, but nevertheless, Rey “seems to believe” Kylo Ren. But just as JJ Abrams himself has confirmed, the Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL) Story Group also support Rian Johnson’s suggestion that there’s more to this story from a certain point of view:
Fan correctly identifying that something wasn’t right in the throne room scene: “How did Kylo Ren know Rey’s parents were dead since Rey clearly thought they were coming back for her?”
Pablo Hidalgo: “I figured [Kylo] pulled the biggest fear out of [Rey] like she did to him in the previous movie.” (obvi referencing Rey seeing that Kylo’s biggest fear was that he’d never be as strong as Darth Vader).
Different Fan responding with mind blown in disbelief: “Wait, does that mean it’s possibly not true?”
Pablo Hidalgo: “I didn’t see him pull out a notarized birth certificate.” (April 29, 2018)
If there is truly more to Rey’s origin story FACPOV as JJ Abrams, Rian Johnson, and the LFL Story Group all seem to suggest, did they leave behind any clues for us to examine?
TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: SKYWALKER ORIGIN STORY HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT
The Last Jedi script indicates that Kylo Ren manipulates Rey into speaking aloud her biggest fear (not necessarily the truth). After which, Kylo Ren then describes Rey’s “parents” with three very specific details; this should go without saying, but the dialogue is written with intention.
As an exercise in investigative connect-the-dots, I will attempt to associate Kylo Ren’s description of Rey’s parents with any on-screen canon examples of such. In doing so, I will show that Rian Johnson wrote this additional description of Rey’s parents as a trail of breadcrumbs leading directly back to the Skywalker family from a certain point of view. He does so by appearing to play two truths and a lie (or partial truths depending on what Kylo Ren actually saw, and what he is technically attempting to twist and manipulate).
So, any guesses as to which one was the lie?
First, the truths.
Regarding description : Note that there has been exactly one (1) pauper grave site shown throughout the entirety of the Skywalker Saga: the graves at the Lars’ Homestead on Tatooine (Attack of the Clones). This is, of course, the grave site of the mother to the entire Skywalker family on-screen: Shmi Skywalker Lars. Note also, that the Lars’ and Shmi are most certainly very poor people: i.e., “paupers.” In fact, and FACPOV, one could argue Shmi was essentially, and for all intents and purposes, a “nobody” at one time in this story.
Moreover, replacing the specific word of “parents” with “family” would not insult the meaning behind the descriptors. Only now, can Shmi be viewed as the mother, grandmother, and great grandmother of the greatest Force users in the history of the Galaxy – but in defining the origins of the Skywalkers themselves – Luke the farm boy, and Anakin the slave – they each came from “nothing,” or extremely humble beginnings.
Last, the grave site is on Tatooine, and not Jakku – however, stick a pin in that thought as we move to the second truth….
Regarding description : Note that there has been exactly one (1) filthy junk trader in all of on-screen canon: Watto, the Toydarian junk dealer and slave owner of…. yep, Shmi Skywalker, and also her son, Anakin Skywalker. Thus, at one time, Anakin and Shmi both were forced to trade junk for Watto at his shop. Is this a coincidence that two (2) of Kylo Ren’s three choice descriptions regarding Rey’s family are directly, and only, associated with the Skywalker family and it’s “nobody” origins on Tatooine?
Note also, that Luke Skywalker has been suggested to have lived a modest lifestyle post-Return of the Jedi in EU material, and may have traded junk or salvage along the way (see: Legends of Luke Skywalker).
Further, if Kylo Ren saw this in Rey’s mind, it directly implicates Rey having knowledge of the Skywalker family and its origins at one time in her life whether she remembers it or not. The Last Jedi jr. novelization indicates that “Rey hadn’t known those details [about her parents], but she had no doubt what Kylo Ren said was true.”
Did Kylo Ren see the grave site of her “family” on a desert planet and assume it was Jakku?
robotical712 speculates that Rey was actually raised on, and potentially kidnapped from, Tatooine. If so, it could explain her knowledge and memory of the Skywalker family history, perhaps the trauma of being taken from her family has distorted her full memory, or more simply, because her lasting memory of “family” is from when she was just a young child.
Certainly, the Skywalkers are no strangers to family lost in the desert….
This leaves just one lie.
Who do we know that’s sold anyone for drinking money? In fact, we know of no one in film-canon that has sold another for drinking money. Considering the unmistakable relation that the other two descriptors have to the Skywalkers, I revisited the “reveal” scene in question and found an interesting bit of direction unfold.
For the two true details related to the Skywalkers, Kylo Ren is locked in eye-contact with Rey. In fact, the entire conversation he has with Rey during this “reveal” is in direct eye-contact with her except for one (1), and only one (1), critical point. Any guesses?
Regarding description : “Sold you off for drinking money,” Kylo Ren clearly breaks eye-contact hard right, and looks down and away during every last second of each word in this description before finally returning to meet Rey’s eyes once more.
Not only does this description not fit in with the other two in having direct connections with on-screen canon, it’s the only section of this scene that Kylo Ren breaks eye contact with Rey, and for the entirety of the description. It appears as though this section of the scene was meant to give us pause, and also stand out from the other two descriptions of “pauper’s grave” and “junk trader.” A lie….
Altogether, and FACPOV, Rian Johnson’s description of Rey’s family paints a vivid Skywalker origin story, from their humble (“nobody”) origin, and once filthy junk trading lifestyle, to being buried in a pauper’s grave in the desert. It appears as though her family did not sell her off for drinking money, however. Note also that Unkar Plutt does not “own” Rey.
THE DARK SIDE OF LYING AND MANIPULATING THE TRUTH
Kylo Ren’s lie is sandwiched between two pieces of semi-truths (or full-truths depending on Kylo’s honest perception). In other words, Kylo Ren adds a dark lie to his distorted version of the Skywalker family. Rian Johnson confirms Kylo Ren’s motivation in this scene, using Rey’s greatest fear to weaken her inner confidence and get her to lean on him:
“The hardest thing to hear is, ‘nope, this not going to define you.’ And in fact, Kylo is going to use this to try and undercut your confidence so you’ll feel you have to lean on him for your identity. And you’re going to have to make the choice to find your own identity in this story.” – Rian Johnson”
Remember also, finding your own identity was not a construct of The Last Jedi, it’s Rian Johnson’s way of paying homage to, and a continuation of, the original theme for Star Wars and Luke Skywalker:
“My films have a tendency to promote personal self-esteem, a you-can-do-it attitude. Their message is: ‘Don’t listen to everyone else. Discover your own feelings and follow them. Then you can overcome anything.” – George Lucas
The Dark Side is no stranger to lying and manipulating the truth for situational advantage or personal gain. Take the conversation between Count Dooku and a captive Obi-Wan Kenobi in Attack of the Clones, for example. Count Dooku never admits that he is actually a Dark Lord of the Sith to Obi-Wan. Why? Without this knowledge, there is a far greater potential for Obi-Wan to trust Count Dooku, and with this knowledge, Count Dooku loses any hope of gaining Obi-Wan’s trust.
Here are some blatant lies (bolded) mixed in with semi-truths during that scene:
Dooku: Oh no, my friend. This is a mistake. A terrible mistake. They’ve gone too far. This is madness.
Obi-Wan: I thought you were the leader here, Dooku.
Dooku: This had nothing to do with me, I assure you. I will petition immediately to have you set free.
Obi-Wan: Well I hope it doesn’t take too long. I have work to do.
Dooku: May I ask why a Jedi Knight is all the way out here on Geonosis?
Obi-Wan: I’ve been tracking a bounty hunter named Jango Fett. Do you know him?
Dooku: There are no bounty hunters here that I am aware of. The Geonosians don’t trust them.
Obi-Wan: Well who can blame them, but he is here, I can assure you.
This leads into the “truth” about Darth Sidious, but without knowing Count Dooku is himself a Dark Lord of the Sith, Obi-Wan contemplates this truth, and ultimately decides to never join the Count. Count Dooku, mixing truths with lies for manipulation.
Then there’s this doozy:
Darth Vader: Where is Padmé? Is she safe, is she all right?
Darth Sidious: I’m afraid she died. It seems in your anger, you killed her.
Sidious mixing a terrible lie into the truth of Padmé’s death.
Rian Johnson’s clever choice of descriptors regarding Rey’s parents can relate to only one (1) on-screen canon example: The Skywalkers. Kylo Ren mixed in one dark lie among a distorted point of view in order to further manipulate Rey’s greatest fear, and get her to join him. It is possible that Kylo Ren incorrectly identified Rey’s memory of the Tatooine desert with that of Jakku, or used Jakku as a selling point away from the truth. It appears that Rey’s parents being from a relevant lineage, the Skywalkers, was endgame for both JJ Abrams in The Force Awakens, Rian Johnson in The Last Jedi, and now we’ll get the whole story in Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.
LFL has billed The Rise of Skywalker as the finale to the Skywalker Saga, and JJ Abrams had declared that his ultimate intent is to “resolve all nine movies.” I can think of no better solution that would better tie together each episodic Star Wars film than the delayed reveal, and the cleverly planted clues leading us to, Rey Skywalker defining the light of Anakin Skywalker conflicting, and ultimately resolving with, the darkness represented by Kylo Ren and Darth Vader. This examination of the truth and lies behind the “reveal” of The Last Jedi strongly supports the Star Wars Shadow Council’s Definitive The Last Jedi Case for Rey Skywalker.
SUPPLEMENTAL: ***POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW***
Read some of robitcal712’s thoughts and plot summary based on the leaked information. A potential leak suggests that getting C-3PO’s memory back will be a key component at one point in Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker. Considering that 3PO’s memory was wiped after Anakin’s fall and Padmé’s death, the old memories include Shmi’s funeral, and little Ani saying goodbye to an unfinished 3PO, each on Tatooine. Could these memories spur a trip back to Tatooine? Will Rey be called to the Skywalker grave site?
UPDATE: Making Star Wars is reporting that one of the plot points of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker revolves around a graveyard or cemetery. Sounds like the the seed Rian Johnson planted in The Last Jedi are beginning to grow 😉