Rian Johnson Discusses Rey and Finn’s Family History in The Last Jedi

Rey’s family history has been one of, if not the most, debated topics coming out of The Force Awakens. While obviously not divulging too much as far as details, Rian Johnson does tell Entertainment Weekly that answers will be revealed, but they don’t stop with Rey!



The final pieces of Anthony Breznican’s in depth The Last Jedi coverage are rolling in, this time we get Rian Johnson’s take on Rey and Finn’s family history and past. In this article at Entertainment WeeklyRian Johnson talks about the past as a tool to help one move forward, and how revelations about Rey and Finn’s familial past will affect them moving forward in The Last Jedi and beyond.





It appears that The Last Jedi will bring us the answer we’ve been debating for nearly two years. Who are Rey’s parents?


“To me, it’s important insofar as it’s important to her,” Johnson says. “And I think it’s important to her in terms of what is her place in all of this? What’s going to define her in this story? She was told in the last movie that the answer’s not in the past; it’s looking forward. But she’s showing up on this island to talk to this hero from the past.”




As much as we as fans simply need to know already, that much holds true for Rey as she comes to understand her purpose potentially through her past:


“You can be told [‘the answer’s not in the past’], but I think she still has a lingering hope that she’s going to find the thing that’s going to say: This is where you belong. This is where you are. I think she still holds onto the thought that where she comes from will help define where she’s going.”



Daisy Ridley makes it clear that while we, and Rey, will find out who her parents were, it will not automatically change who she is:


“You can always look for answers and that doesn’t mean that the rest of your life is so easy. It’s not like, oh, I know who my parents are so now everything falls into shape, especially in the Star Wars world,” the actress says.


Breznican makes the point that throughout Star Wars, the identity of one’s parents typically doesn’t shed any light on what kind of person they will become. Throughout the saga: Shmi was a loving mother, yet Anakin turned evil, Luke was the son of Darth Vader, yet constantly yearned for good. It ultimately comes down to their experiences, their journey, as an individual, and that is all Rey has known up until this point:


“Yes, it would potentially change her mind, or at least give her a little bit more peace in moving forward. But ultimately what’s coming is coming, and whatever abilities she has are there. So, personally, I think it’s less important than even she may think.”


The theme of the dark, the light, the balance, was made evident from the first teaser, and Ridley goes on to emphasize that the blurring of those lines will be thematic in The Last Jedi. It’s not always going to be cops and robbers, good versus evil, there are so many more layers than that:


“What’s wonderful is it’s not so cut and dry, who’s good and who’s bad and that’s not me saying, ‘Oh, my God, some people are gonna go bad,’” Ridley says. “There’s always room for bad people to make good decisions and vice versa. Again, that could be nothing to do with your parents and it could be everything to do with your parents.”



One question remains, when will we find out WHO left Rey on Jakku in the clutches of Unkar Plutt?





We often forget that Finn is as much an orphan as Rey, if not more. He was stripped from a family he knows nothing about, and given a number, a soldier ID number, for a name. John Boyega tells Breznican that Finn’s backstory is not a closed book, although we may not find out much about it in The Last Jedi:


“Yeah, definitely,” Boyega tells EW. “But it’s not explored in depth in Episode VIII. But he definitely has a past that is troubled. … I don’t know how all that’s going to play out. We will learn more about his past and where he came from, and potentially why he made the decision [to escape] that he made,” Boyega says. “I’m also very curious. The question that needs to be answered is why he decided to leave as a stormtrooper in the first place. We will find out just a little bit more about him.”



There appear to be several themes coming our way in The Last Jedi, the balance between light and dark, visually red in tone, and now the element of the past’s role in moving you forward:


“The big thematic push and pull in the movie is the past and what role the past has in moving us forward into the future,” Johnson says.


Here is Breznican’s video about these interviews:




You know we’ll be discussing this on The SWNN podcast The Resistance Broadcast this week as well! You can find me not searching for my family on Twitter at @JohnnyHoey and be sure to follow our official SWNN account at @starwarsnewsnet and The Resistance Broadcast at @RBatSWNN.

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John Hoey is the Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net and the host of The Resistance Broadcast podcast

"For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is."

John Hoey

John Hoey is the Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net and the host of The Resistance Broadcast podcast"For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is."

41 thoughts on “Rian Johnson Discusses Rey and Finn’s Family History in The Last Jedi

  • August 11, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    I’m not sure if Rey will be related to any of our previous Triologies protagonists, but I believe she will help heal the rift that is obvious in the Skywalker clan.

    • August 12, 2017 at 12:24 am

      i think she will turn to the dark and ben solo will come back to the light, episode 9 face off between them both representing the opposite sides that they started from

      • August 12, 2017 at 4:34 am

        I can’t see them turning the first female lead into an antihero.

        • August 12, 2017 at 7:47 am


      • August 13, 2017 at 1:30 am

        That would be terrible.

        • August 13, 2017 at 8:52 pm

          I’d be down for it.

  • August 11, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    I guess “family is super-important” is going to be the next “everything is practical effects” tripe we’re going to be bludgeoned with between now and December.

    • August 12, 2017 at 12:23 am

      silly prick

      • August 12, 2017 at 12:26 am

        Is that what your girlfriend calls it?

  • August 12, 2017 at 12:00 am

    In order for Rey to find out about her family, someone must tell her about it, which means that someone knows who she is, which means she is not a completely random person. It doesn’t mean she is a Skywalker, but someone has to know who she is.

    • August 12, 2017 at 12:14 am

      It could also be revealed in a vision of her past…

  • August 12, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Kinda sounds like Johnson is passing on the revelation of Rey’s origins to Colin Treverow to worry about. lol

  • August 12, 2017 at 12:37 am

    The fact is, the current canon says that there were rumors of the Empire conducting a secret project on Jaaku. It’s one of the reasons why the last Imperial holdouts had their last stand on that planet. They may have been protecting whatever it is that the Empire was working on — it was their last best hope against the victorious Rebels.

    And Rey — a young woman with super Force powers already — is on that planet with fuzzy memories about her upbringing.

    I mean, come on — this cannot be a coincidence.

  • August 12, 2017 at 8:34 am

    the only Rey backstories I will accept are:
    1) she is Kylo Ren’s sister/niece/friend, and when he turned to the dark side and killed all the new Jedi, he couldn’t bring himself to kill her and hid her on Jakku. Snoke doesn’t even know he spared her.
    2) Luke was able to save her from Kylo Ren and hid her on Jakku, knowing that if he kept her with him she would be found and put in danger… so either her showing op on Ahch-To was his worst fear coming to pass, or it was his plan all along, and now she is ready to fulfill her destiny.

    both explanations require some kind of Force mind-wipe, and I think they may be contradicted by some recent canon books… oh well.

    • August 12, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      Lucasfilm story group is very structured now and they don’t let contradictions occur, they work with the writers, Rian Johnson and such to make sure to have one continuity between the books and the movies and TV series. Read Bloodline.

    • August 12, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      I’d buy Kylo leaving her more than Luke. Luke leaving her makes no sense, I doubt Luke would have left her to live as pretty much a slave with people that did not have her best interests in mind. One question that may shed light on this theory is their age, Kylo would need to be at least 5-10 years older than her for this to make sense unless he wiped out the Jedi as 10 year old kid. Do we knbow Rey & Kylo’s age?

      • August 12, 2017 at 8:19 pm

        I believe Rey is around age 20 and Kylo is around age 30.

        • August 14, 2017 at 4:02 pm

          Rey is 19 at the beginning of TFA, and Kylo is 29, I suppose.

    • August 12, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      Problem with these theories is the timeline. Rey was dumped on Jakku at around age 5, which means Kylo would have been around 15 at the time. According to the “Bloodlines” book, which takes place about 6 years before TFA, Kylo had not turned to the darkside yet (so he would have been around 24 or 25 at that time). That means that there was at least a decade between the time that Rey was dumped on Jakku and when Kylo turned evil. It just doesn’t line up….

    • August 12, 2017 at 11:06 pm

      Several novelizations of TFA heavily imply that Kylo Ren knows who Rey is. So there’s that.

      • August 13, 2017 at 1:12 am

        Not really. That “it is you” line people like to quote is referring to Rey being that awakening in the Force he and Snoke were talking about.

        • August 13, 2017 at 8:51 pm

          There’s that AND the fact that when he hears that BB-8 escaped with a girl he freaks out and says “What girl?? implying that there’s some significance to a strong girl who lives on Jakku.

    • August 13, 2017 at 5:50 am

      Or maybe she could be a new character? I mean if TLJ goes the route of Luke’s daughter or Obi-wan niece or some other SWs character, a part of me will roll my eyes.

      I get that SWs has always been, movie wise, the Skywalker Saga. That to me is the beauty of the PT and OT. The fall of Anakin and the rise of Luke. But the ST doesn’t have to follow that. It should forge its own path.

      And if RJ and LF is smart, they will recognize that. Because, to me, her being related to another character isn’t going to make me care about her. I cared about Luke Skywalker because he was well written, Anakin to a lesser degree.

      But if I was to postulate about any reveal, I have a hunch RJ is going to throw everyone for a loop, revealing some major bit of information of Rey, but only to reveal that it maybe a red herring or a half-truth.

      Because, something Rian Johnson did very well in Looper that I enjoyed was a sense of mystery and suspense. And I could see that coming into TLJ.

      • August 13, 2017 at 6:12 am

        new characters are overrated… that being said, I don’t think she has to be a blood-relative of any previous character, but she at least needs to have a history with Luke, Kylo, or Snoke.

        • August 13, 2017 at 9:16 pm

          New characters are underrated as far as I am concerned. It is one of the reasons why I loved Legends during KOTOR as it introduced so many great new characters. I do not think she needs to have a history with either. If she happened to have ordinary parents or Jedi who served in Luke’s temple, fine.

          Really, what matters is the character itself and how she is developed. Because, if this ST really wants to go the extra mile, then I believe it would be a brave choice to separate themselves and forge its path with its Main protagonist not being related to someone or having a connection.

          But really, if my predictions are right, I see Rey being linked to potentially someone from the First Jedi temple.

  • August 12, 2017 at 9:09 am

    What if that weapon was designed using some of Darth Vader’s DNA? In-part making her a “skywalker”.

    • August 12, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Also, what if Snoke, is like a failed version of this “weapon” concept, and was kind of thrown to the trash after his birth. Would explain the damaged body, and also would make him related to the Skywalker’s.
      I’m just going on a rant now.. lol

      • August 12, 2017 at 11:34 am

        All I’m stating is that the various books (TFA Visual Guide, comics and novels) have all stated that the Empire was *rumored* to have been doing something on Jaaku. After the Rebels defeated the Emperor at the Battle of Endor, the remaining Imperial forces retreated to Jaaku for a last stand, and they were rumored to be protecting something. This isn’t my speculation — it’s what has been established so far in the new canon.

        And we know that the Republic utilized cloning tech to create the Clonetroopers. Thus, it’s not at all a stretch to consider that Palpatine had Imperial scientists working on a next generation clone soldier, ones that would be strong with the Force.

        This kind of thing has already been established throughout the movies — the Clone Wars, and even in Rogue One (secret weapons research). It looks like Rey was the latest product of this by the Empire in its dying days.

        • August 12, 2017 at 6:40 pm

          I like that idea. I could live with it. It gives the opertunity for a New skywalker child without being a direct offspring, and make her incredibly more powerful than the average Jedi, which could spark a new generation of Jedi from her. Notice in her flashback she was on an imperial ship at some point

    • August 12, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      Nah, not Vader DNA, but the fact that the floating hand in the beginning of TFA was actually going to be a thing makes me wonder if they somehow got Luke’s hand and created Rey. Why else would you focus on a hand floating through space?

  • August 13, 2017 at 12:49 am

    I doubt there is anything special or relevant about Finn’s family and I don’t expect that topic to be addressed at all in any of the movies. In fact, I gave up any hope that there might be anything special at all about Finn, rather than him possibly becoming an ordinary war hero. It looks like he is being even sidelined in importance compared to Poe, who is taking a much bigger role in the story going forward,

    • August 13, 2017 at 1:22 am

      What is wrong with being a war hero lol? In a movie called Star Wars that would seem to be a good thing to be.

    • August 13, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      “It looks like he is being even sidelined in importance compared to Poe, who is taking a much bigger role in the story going forward,”

      What in the world gave you that idea?

      • August 14, 2017 at 3:57 pm

        It is a fact that Poe will be given a more prominent role in TLJ than in TFA. It is unknow yet how that will affect Finn’s role, but it is likely that there will be an impact.

        • August 15, 2017 at 2:25 am

          And how does that mean that you KNOW that Finn will get sidelined? What gave you that idea? Do you have any proof?

  • August 13, 2017 at 3:08 am

    “Daisy Ridley makes it clear that while we, and Rey, will find out who
    her parents were, it will not automatically change who she is:”

    Can someone show me where she or Johnson makes this clear?

  • August 13, 2017 at 5:43 am

    Unlike Kylo Ren, Rey I found as a character was really bland. However, I do like what RJ has brought forth: What is her role in the conflict? What is going to define her? And really her handling the truth?

    Because, if there was ONE thing I could give some credit to TFA for was the idea of Rey wanting to stay on Jakku and her fear of something really bad, an unfortunate reality. It would have helped had there been a reason WHY she was on Jakku and why she was stubborn to stay. But regardless, it is a concept worth looking to explore.

    As for who she actually is, I find it irrelevant. Backstories are important when it comes to shaping characters, but like constructing a lego tower, they are only ONE part of what makes a compelling character. There are many other aspects that shape who a character is. Like their decisions and motivations. And in my view, Rey is bland with most of her developed packaged away in a mystery box. But that could always change. Something I count on with RJ as you do not hire someone like him and waste his talent.

    • August 13, 2017 at 5:45 am

      As for Finn, I am indifferent. Sad, because I did love the concept of Finn, but TFA made him too much comedic relief for my taste. Really, bad, considering his actual backstory in Before the Awakening was really cool. If anything, I could see some focus, but nothing tangible. Which is fine. And that isn’t me dismissing Boyega as I really did love him even before SWs, Attack the Block is amazing.

  • August 14, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Rey could have been a virgin-birth force-child of Leia’s but somehow brought about through the evil workings of Snoke (that is to say, Leia is impregnated by the dark side). As Rey is thought to be the product of evil, she is to be done away with but instead of being killed, she is dumped on Jakku and forgotten. This would make her an anti-Anakin ie. she is a force genius expected to bring the dark side back to power but, against all expectations, she turns good.

    • August 17, 2017 at 12:58 am


  • August 18, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Shot in the dark really, but I say she’s a Palpatine. She has the same forward thrusting motion with a lightsaber when fighting Ren as the Emperor did against Yoda and Windu. Genetic tendencies? Also I’m sure Daisy was instructed and trained to fight in a particular way for the movie so it’s doubtful she simply came up with the style on her own and J.J. just let it go.
    Think about it…. Palpatine.

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