Rey was originally going to be the grand-daughter of Star Wars fan favorite Obi-Wan Kenobi in Disney’s sequel trilogy, Daisy Ridley has admitted, more than 10 months after it was revealed her character was a Palpatine in Rise of Skywalker.
One of the biggest narrative questions of Disney’s Star Wars trilogy, first asked in The Force Awakens in 2015, was main character Rey’s mysterious parentage.
The aspiring Jedi was told she was “no one” by Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi, before The Rise of Skywalker revealed she was actually a descendant of Star Wars big bad Emperor Palpatine.
As it turns out, that shock final-act plot twist — which went down like a lead balloon in the Star Wars fandom — wasn’t actually the plan. Instead, Ridley revealed on Jimmy Kimmel, her character was originally meant to be Kenobi’s grand-daughter.
“At the beginning, they were toying with an Obi-Wan connection,” Ridley said. “There were different versions… at one point she was no one. It kept changing. JJ came to me for [Episode Nine] and said Palpatine’s your grandaddy, then two weeks later he wasn’t sure. Even after filming, I wasn’t sure what it would be.”
daisy ridley talking about rey's blood lineage pic.twitter.com/5urMZSuEH7
— ju (@pattinsondriver) September 9, 2020
In fact, J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio, who took over from director Colin Trevorrow late on in the process, didn’t settle on Rey’s plot-twist Palpatine connection until well into The Rise of Skywalker’s shooting schedule, Ridley revealed.
Daisy Ridley reveals that J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio didn't decide Rey was a Palpatine until after they started filming 'The Rise of Skywalker'
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The hints were certainly there for Rey to be an Obi-Wan Kenobi descendant. When she first found Anakin’s lightsaber, which had been handed down to Luke and then lost at Cloud City, she heard Obi-Wan’s voice speaking to her in a vision.
“Rey… these are her first steps,” the combined voices of Obi-Wan actors Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness could be heard saying as she battled through a dark vision from the past.
It also would have made sense in a narrative sense. Obi-Wan and Anakin fought for the last time on the shores of Mustafar in 19BBY — in-universe, of course — and Kenobi ended up besting his former padawan after an epic lightsaber duel.
50 years later Kylo takes up his grandfather’s Darth Vader mantle. Rey opposing him would have completed that ‘circle’ in the nine-episode Star Wars saga.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Abrams, who was brought in by Disney to “repair” the franchise after Rian Johnson’s divisive Last Jedi release, instead tied Rey to the saga’s villain Palpatine, and set them against each other in Rise of Skywalker.
There likely won’t be any retcons for the sequel trilogy hero either. Daisy Ridley has been clear she doesn’t expect to return as Rey, stating “10 years is a long time, but to me, Rise of Skywalker has tied Rey up with a bow.”
Never say never though. Hayden Christensen is tipped to return as Anakin 21 years after his last outing in the Star Wars franchise, and Boba Fett could be back too, 38 years after his supposed death. Maybe Rey could be back in the future too.