Rey's Parents Shouldn't Be In Star Wars Episode 9

There are much better things for Keri Russell to do.

Star Wars The Last Jedi Rey
Lucasfilm

With Keri Russell being cast in Star Wars Episode IX, talk has understandably turned to just who she might be playing. There are already a number of theories, but one that's gained a lot of traction is the idea she'll portray Rey's mother.

The possibility got particular attention thanks to an article from The Hollywood Reporter, and it is certainly a contender for who Russell will be playing - just not the right one.

For starters, Rey's mother (and indeed father) would be quite a small role, albeit an important one, and while Russell would do a good job there are a number of more interesting uses for her talents, which would fit in well in either the Resistance or First Order, as an official or a Force-user. But more than that, it's because there's simply no need to see Rey's parents in the movie.

For over two years fans were wondering just who Rey was and whether she might be a Skywalker, a Kenobi, a Palpatine, or some other famous name in the Star Wars universe, and Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi gave an answer that some (a very vocal some, at that) weren't happy with. Rey's parents were junk traders who sold her off for drinking money; they were nobodies and died on Jakku.

It's not necessarily what people expected - it's not even what Rey expected - but it's the reveal that hits hardest. Like a reversal of The Empire Strikes Back's great twist, it crushes Rey by telling her she's not from some special family or destined for greatness because of her lineage, and it's learning to be the new hope for the Resistance, with this knowledge, that drives the character forward.

While Johnson has said that it's open for J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio if they want to change it, there's no need to do so. There's a stark honesty in the reveal in The Last Jedi that makes it work so well, and anything else now would simply feel shoe-horned in to appease those who weren't happy with it, so that's Rey's parents ruled out in one way.

So the likelihood is that Abrams won't undo things, but he could still attempt to show more of it, and even shift perceptions. But even then, we don't need extra detail or context to Rey's parentage.

In The Force Awakens, Maz Kanata tells Rey that "The belonging you seek is not behind you - it is ahead." In The Last Jedi, we hear "Let the past die." With the reveal that her parents were nobodies, Rey learns to take these statements onboard. She may not be a Skywalker, her lineage doesn't mark her out for greatness, but she can defy that and be great anyway. Episode IX should continue that by continuing to move things forward, not looking back to the past.

We also need to question where the truth comes from. Kylo Ren may provide the details, but it's Rey who first admits that her parents were nobodies. It's clear, though, that the memory is a painful one; so painful, in fact, that she's managed to live for years convinced otherwise, implanting false memories and fruitless hopes in her own mind so as to not have to accept that she's all alone. Flashbacks are rarely used in Star Wars anyway (another reason this isn't necessary), but it'd be even harder to do, and even more pointless, when the narrator has squashed and changed the memories they're now trying to show.

Rey is a strong character, and potentially a really great one, but she should be defined by her actions rather than her past. That's the point of the parentage reveal, and it should continue to be so in Episode IX. It's thrilling to think of where she might go and what she might do, not where she's been and what her parents did.

Do you want to see Rey's parents in Episode IX? Let us know down in the comments.

Read Next: Star Wars Episode 9: 12 Rumours You Need To Know

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TV Editor
TV Editor

NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far. A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.

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