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 Weekly, Rian 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.