In other words, despite Lucasfilm building up the mystery of Rey’s parents in The Force Awakens, its follow up’s answer was that she wasn’t actually related to anyone important to the saga. For many in the audience, the message behind this twist was clear: great heroes can come from anywhere in the galaxy, they don’t have to be born a Skywalker or a Kenobi.
But some fans took this reveal as hard as Rey, claiming that Johnson went for shock value instead of developing the character. But while speaking to Rolling Stone (via Variety), Ridley said the “no one” parentage idea actually came from Abrams himself: “Well, J.J. was the one who was like, she is of no one, so it wasn’t just ‘The Last Jedi’ where that was the message.”
Despite Johnson being blamed for this plot point, Ridley is suggesting here that it was actually in line with what the thinking was even back in The Force Awakens. That of course doesn’t explain why Abrams changed his mind in The Rise of Skywalker and turned Rey into a Palpatine. Was it to appease angry fans after The Last Jedi or was there always an elaborate plan to extend the parentage mystery across three films, with the second providing a fake out revelation to challenge the hero? Ridley won’t say, but she does think there’s merit in whichever side of Rey’s story you choose to believe.
“What was interesting about the last one, for me, was that you can be a hero and not come from anywhere or you can be a hero and come from literally the worst person in the universe. You’re not your parents, you’re not your grandparents, you’re not your bloodline, and you’re not the generations before you. So, I always was like, sure.”
When pressed about her preferences for her character, Ridley provided a workman-like response, saying “It’s beyond my pay grade… I say the words, do the thing.” Further, she emphasized the benefits of both The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker lineages, explaining, “I do love the version of, you can be anyone you want to be, but I also love the version where you can rectify wrongs and can’t help what you’re born into.”
In the end, Ridley tried her best to bring peace to the Star Wars galaxy. But will fighting cease in comment sections across cyberspace? One can only hope.