Finding Out Who Rey's Parents Are Shouldn't Matter

Episode VIII of the Star Wars saga is still over a year away, so Star Wars fans have ample time to wear out their The Force Awakens DVDs and have intense discussions about what might befall Luke, Leia, and the new trio in that film and the next. There's so much room in this world for speculation and fan theories, which is one of the features that I love the most about the sci-fi/fantasy genre. But one topic seems to be taken over a lot of the conversation about this trilogy and its characters: who Rey's parents are. Yet while The Force Awakens certainly raised some questions, is her origin story really all that important?

In the grand scheme of things, Rey's parentage really doesn't matter. The family she comes from may be a significant plot point in the newest Star Wars trilogy, but why not focus on the things she's already done or has yet to do, instead? It's not that I don't care who Rey hails from and how she fits into the almost 40-year history of the franchise. But Rey is already fully formed as a character, even without her heritage being revealed. As the series progresses, she'll grow and change and react to things, just as all decently sketched characters should.

Besides, the Rey the audience meets and loves in The Force Awakens is a product of her past. She is who she is because she spent years waiting on Jakku for a family she barely remembers. She's self-sufficient and guarded ("Stop taking my hand!"), but also hopeful and courageous. When she finds out who her parents or grandparents are, she'll do so as a young woman who's already made some important choices. It'll matter, for sure, but Rey isn't going to become a different person overnight because of what she discovers.

Anyway, what does it change? I've read convincing theories that are all over the map. Some say Rey is Leia and Han's daughter and therefore Ben's sister, while others theorize that she's Luke's daughter. Others still say she's Obi-Wan Kenobi's granddaughter, and according to some, she may even be related to Jyn Erso, the protagonist of the upcoming standalone film, Rogue One. Everyone's a suspect, basically — all the way down to ancillary characters. Each of these suggestions are at least mildly plausible. And if any of them could be made to fit Rey's story, then I'd argue that it's more her own than theirs.

There's something low-key misogynistic about the obsession with this heroine's parents. Would Rey not be Star Wars lead material if she didn't have some claim to the mythology? Can't she be in the club just because she's awesome? Rey actor Daisy Ridley herself expressed some polite frustration with the constant guessing at the MTV Movie Awards back in April. When MTV News asked about the Jyn Erso theory, Ridley said, “I’m not being funny you guys, but just because she’s white and got brown hair…it doesn’t mean she’s my mom." No one assumes that all the dudes in Star Wars must be related each to other. Can't Jyn, Leia, and Rey have backgrounds as varied as Han, Luke, Finn, and Poe?

When Rey's parents are revealed, it'll be a "huh, cool" moment for the trilogy. But Rey has carved out a legacy that's entirely her own, and that's what should matter more.

Image: Walt Disney Studios; Giphy (2)