Who is Rey? It’s a question that become one of the defining talking points of the most recent “Star Wars” trilogy. The answer is simple (she’s Emperor Palpatine’s granddaughter), but the road to get there was anything but.
Rey’s parentage was kept a mystery in “The Force Awakens,” which ignited fan theories debating if the character was the offspring of a Skywalker, or a Kenobi, or so on. “The Last Jedi” rejected those theories by revealing Rey was no one, an orphan whose parents were not tied to the lore of “Star Wars.” “The Rise of Skywalker” then backtracked, revealing Rey as the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine after all.
Given the hugely divisive response to “The Last Jedi,” many people felt “The Rise of Skywalker” retconning Rey’s “no one” parentage and tying her lineage back to Palpatine was a deliberate choice made by Lucasfilm to satisfy the fandom. Rey herself, Daisy Ridley, recently weighed in on the retcon debate during an interview with Rolling Stone.
“Well, J.J. [Abrams] was the one who was like, she is of no one, so it wasn’t just ‘The Last Jedi’ where that was the message,” Ridley said. “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.”
“But it’s beyond my pay grade,” Ridley added. “I say the words, do the thing. 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.”
So there you have it. Ridley was fine with the decision to make Rey a Palpatine even if she would’ve loved to have Rey stay a “no one.” The actor was always at the center of fan controversies surrounding Rey, and she even left social media during her “Star Wars” tenure to do misogynistic backlash from toxic trolls. Ridley recently told Variety that future female “Star Wars” leads like Amandla Stenberg in “The Acolyte” should just drown out the noise.
“The world is a crazy place,” Ridley said. “It’s important to tune out the stuff. Not just with ‘Star Wars,’ but with everything, you try and be in the moment and enjoy what it is because life moves quickly. Amandla Stenberg can handle herself. She’s been working for a long time.”
“Everyone knows how things are and how they can be,” Ridley concluded. “We’re all living in that, with people saying more than they need to and commenting more than they need to. It’s so individual. Find the good in it all and enjoy it.”
Ridley recently debuted her new indie drama, “Sometimes I Think About Dying,” at Sundance Film Festival.