Daisy Ridley Defends Star Wars’ Controversial Rey Decision

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Daisy Ridley, Rey, Rise of Skywalker

The Rise of Skywalker star Daisy Ridley commented about how she feels regarding some of the big changes the ninth film made in relation to her character’s heritage and defended Lucasfilm's approach.

The sequel trilogy is a sore subject for many; some key canon choices are passionately hated by the fan base.

One of those story choices is Rey’s parentage. In Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, audiences are expressly told that the character comes from nobodies—her parents aren’t important.

However, Episode IX turns around and retcons that notion, instead shocking viewers by revealing Rey is the product of a clone of Emperor Palpatine himself.

Now, the star behind Rey “Skywalker” herself offered some updated thoughts on that particular story beat.

How Daisy Ridley Feels About Rey’s Parentage

Daisy Ridley, Rey
Star Wars

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Daisy Ridley, who portrayed Rey from the most recent sequel trilogy, commented on the big twist regarding her character’s true parentage and defended the choices made by the movie.

Ridley’s answer was diplomatic in nature, but she supported the change, nothing that she enjoyed the message of how “you can be a hero and come from literally the worst person in the universe,” such as, in this case, a clone of Emperor Palpatine himself:

“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. 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.”

The actress then pointed to how she also loved the mantra “you can be anyone you want to be:”

“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. 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.”

Previously, while speaking to The New York Times, The Rise of Skywalker director J. J. Abrams stated, in relation to some of his story adjustments, that “[he doesn’t] think that people go to Star Wars to be told, ‘This doesn’t matter’:

“[The Last Jedi is] full of surprises and subversion and all sorts of bold choices… On the other hand, it’s a bit of a meta approach to the story. I don’t think that people go to Star Wars to be told, ‘This doesn’t matter’… [The Last Jedi was] a story that I think needed a pendulum swing in one directon in order to swing in the other.”

It’s a little confusing how Ridley called attention to how J. J. Abrams was the one who informed her that "she is of no one," when it was his film, The Rise of Skywalker, that made the claim otherwise.

However, regarding Abrams, she’s likely referring to his words when working on The Force Awakens, when no solid choices had been made regarding her heritage.

While talking with USA Today bestselling author Sariah Wilson, the actress told her how she loved that her character came from nowhere “for the first two films.” She went on to clarify that “[she] literally was told that she was no one.”

How the Sequel Trilogy Changed Star Wars’ Trajectoryde

Despite Daisy Ridley attempting to defend Lucasfilm for its choices on Rise of Skywalker, it’s clear it made some terrible choices. In fact, the latest Star Wars film landed so poorly that it single-handedly iced Lucasfilm’s theatrical plans.

The biggest flaw of the sequel trilogy is how Lucasfilm had no overall plan for the movies. It had a three-part story with no idea where to go with any of it.

This led to each entry drastically shifting the direction of the narrative, making changes that completely undid any previous setup or teases.

The most infamous example of this is how Rian Johnson unceremoniously killed off Snoke after the story had teased him as the next big bad of Star Wars.

The franchise could be completely on ice across the board if weren’t for the extreme success of The Mandalorian, which prompted an explosion of renewed interest on the Disney+ platform.

But will fans ever see the sequel characters, such as Rey, again? There haven’t been any concrete confirmations yet.

Though, there are plenty of small signs that could point that way, such as Daisy Ridley’s recent visit to Lucasfilm, as seen on Instagram.

The Rise of Skywalker is now streaming on Disney+.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.