At the MTV Movie Awards this past Saturday, Star Wars: The Force Awakens won Movie of the Year while star Daisy Ridley took home the trophy for Breakthrough Performance for her role as the Force-wielding Rey. MTV took the opportunity to catch up with the actress backstage and quiz her about the question that's been on everyone's mind since that film came out: Who are Rey's parents? Many fans thought they'd solved that mystery when the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer debuted last week, starring Oscar nominee Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso. So is Jyn Erso Rey's mom?
According to Ridley, this assumption is way off the mark. In her backstage interview with MTV, the actress insisted that, "Just because she’s white and got brown hair… it doesn’t mean she’s my mom." While it's true that these superficial characteristics don't necessarily equate to familial relation, it feels a bit disingenuous to deny the obvious similarities between the two characters.
Disney could have cast literally anyone in Rogue One's lead role — a black woman, a hispanic woman, a woman with an American accent, a redhead, a blonde, a man, an alien, an android — but for some reason the role was specifically written for and cast with a white, British, brown-haired woman. Of course audiences are going to draw parallels between Jyn and Rey… and it's only natural to assume that those parallels aren't a coincidence, isn't it?
Ridley went on to reveal that she already knows the identity of Rey's parents, which was revealed to her sometime during the filming of Episode VII — and in her words, their identity is fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of things:
I think the amazing thing about [The Force Awakens] is that Finn and Rey don't come from anywhere and they find a place. And so to me, it's funny that people think it's so important. […] But I don't really think it is, because regardless of where you come from, where you go is the thing. You're moving forward, and you can make a family, find people you love. And so I think the progression Rey's making and the people she's meeting and the relationships she's making now are kind of more important than where she comes from. But that's just me.
Now, this argument is one that I happen to agree with, and the reason I've been so adamantly against most of the theories about Rey's parents from the beginning. The Force Awakens makes a point to stress the anonymity of Rey's beginnings. The fact that she's a nobody — that she's a scavenger with no parents who lives on a far-flung desert planet — makes the things she ends up doing all the more impressive.
Whereas the original trilogy and the prequels were 100 percent about the dynasty of the Skywalker family, it was refreshing that TFA was about a handful of… nobodies, really. The movie advocated the idea that anyone can be special, no matter how humble their beginnings. For the sequels to turn around and reveal that — SURPRISE! — Rey was really Luke's daughter all along (or some other similar twist) would be a profound betrayal of the very ideal that TFA promotes.
So while I don't think it's wrong for fans to be making comparisons between Rey and Jyn (the comparisons practically invite themselves, after all), I wouldn't go leaping to any conclusions about some impending grand reveal just yet. Perhaps there really is no greater mystery behind Rey's character; maybe the biggest twist will turn out to be that there is no twist.
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