Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Simon Pegg Says JJ Abrams Originally Had A Different Plan For Rey's Parents

By: Dominic Jones

One of the biggest questions leading up to The Force Awakens and then The Last Jedi was they mystery surrounding Rey's parents.  There was rampant speculation about who Rey's parents could be, everyone from Han Solo and Princess Leia, or Luke Skywalker, to descendants of Obi-Wan Kenobi or Emperor Palpatine.  Ultimately it was revealed that Rey parents were nobodies (drunks who sold her for drinking money and are now dead in a paupers grave in the Jakku desert).  The decision was made by The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson, but did The Force Awakens writer/director JJ Abrams have a different idea in mind when making that movie?

Simon Pegg, who collaborated with Abrams on the Star Trek and Mission Impossible films (and also played the role of Unkar Plutt in The Force Awakens), told Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast that this was the case.  Pegg said, "I know what JJ kind of intended or at least was being chucked around. I think that’s kind of been undone slightly by the last one. There was some talk of a relevant lineage for her. (...) There was some talk about a kind of relevant lineage for her, but I honestly don't know."

It begs the question of what Abrams' original plan was?  The obvious answer is that Abrams had originally intended Rey to be the daughter of Han and Leia.  There are several moments in The Force Awakens which appear to be setting up a deeper connection between Rey and Han.  This would have continued the idea of Star Wars being the story of the Skywalker family, with the good guy and the bad guy both being part of that family (much like the Original trilogy).

The direction Johnson took it, with Rey being a "nobody", has been controversial for some fans.  The director defended the decision on the Empire Film Podcast, comparing the reveal in The Last Jedi to the reveal in The Empire Strikes Back.

Johnson explained that the reveal in Empire is, "the hardest possible thing that Luke, and hence the audience, could hear at that moment.  You’ve had a bad guy that you can hate, that you can project your shadow on to just cleanly—and he’s evil . . . With that one line, ‘I am your father,’ suddenly that easy answer gets taken away from you, and he’s something that our protagonist has a relationship to."

The Last Jedi presents the inverse of this idea.  Johnson said that, in his mind, Rey hearing that she is related to one of these legendary characters would be "the easiest thing she could possibly hear.  The hardest thing to hear is, ‘Nope, this is not gonna define you. And, in fact, Kylo is gonna use this to try and undercut your confidence so you’ll feel you have to lean on him for your identity . . . you’re gonna have to make the choice to find your own identity in this story."

With Abrams coming back for Episode IX (which he wasn't originally slated to direct, but chose to come back after Colin Trevorrow was let go in September), there is the question of whether the sequel will "undo" The Last Jedi's and Rey's true parents will be revealed?  Personally, I hope not.  If Abrams had really wanted to be the one to say who Rey's parents are, he should have put it in The Force Awakens.  Now that he is following up The Last Jedi he has to follow what that film established.  And frankly, I like what Johnson did (and the reasoning behind it) more than any of the theories that exist about pre-existing characters that could be her parents.

In addition, it may be that Pegg is referring to some early ideas that Abrams had that he changed later on in the process of making The Force AwakensDaisy Ridley told The Rolling Stone in the lead up to The Last Jedi that the plan hadn't changed from what she had been told from the beginning.  The Rey actress said, "I thought what I was told in the beginning is what it is." 

So who knows, what the plan is or was?  Or if it will change at all?  Abrams and Terrio seem to have a script ready for filming of Episode IX, which is slated to begin in July.  If Abrams sticks with what Johnson established, and hopefully he does, then we'll likely never know who he originally considered Rey's parents could be.  And even if Abrams had a different idea for Rey's parents, he was reportedly so enamored with Johnson's script that he told his friend Greg Grunberg (Snap Wexley in The Force Awakens) he wishes he was making it.  It seems unlikely that Abrams would like the script so much if he disagreed with one of Johnson's key story choices.  With that in mind, it seems unlikely that Abrams will change that story even if it isn't where he originally intended the story to go.

Star Wars Episode IX opens in theaters on December 20th, 2019.

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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