Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Screenwriter Chris Terrio on the Mysterious Rey
In Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we learned quite a bit about Rey (Daisy Ridley). One was that her powers with the Force are significant. So much so that her abilities seem as potent, if not more so, than her mentor Luke Skywalker’s were at the same age. (And Rey has gotten more powerful without the training Luke received from Yoda, although she did get some schooling once she tracked Luke down on Ahch-To.) Yet as much as we learned about Rey’s power and passion in Johnson’s film, more questions were raised. Why is Rey so powerful so quickly? And when thinking of the source of Rey’s power, we have to think about her murky family history.
We also learned in The Last Jedi—or thought we did—that Rey’s parents were nobodies. This was what her twisted Force brother (so to speak) Kylo Ren told her. “They were filthy junk traders,” Ren said. “Sold you off for drinking money. They’re dead in a pauper’s grave in the Jakku desert. You come from nothing. You’re nothing, but not to me.”
So who is Rey, and why is she so powerful? These are two of the central questions that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio said animated his collaboration with director and co-writer J.J. Abrams. Here’s what Terrio had to say to Empire about Rey:
“One of them is a simple one: ‘Who is Rey?’, which is a question that people not only wonder about quite literally, but wonder about in the spiritual sense. How can Rey become the spiritual heir to the Jedi? We kept coming back to ‘Who is Rey?’, and how can we give the most satisfying answer to that not only factually – because obviously people are interested in whether there’s more to be learned of Rey’s story – but more importantly who is she as a character? How will she find the courage and will and inner strength and power to carry on what she’s inherited? The second one is, ‘How strong is the Force?…What is the Force and how strong is the Force?’ Those two things were really important.”
Considering The Rise of Skywalker will pick up with Rey as one of the Resistance’s best (and only) hopes of defeating the First Order, we’re assuming the question of who she is and how strong Force is will be connected. This film represents the 9th—and final—installment of the epic Skywalker Saga. Short of finding out that Rey’s parents weren’t nobodies and she is, in fact, a Skywalker, we’re guessing Abrams and Terrio have another answer or two up their sleeves. We’re also guessing that rather than being the rising Skywalker of the title, Rey represents something different, something new. A way forward, perhaps, that will have a more lasting impact on the galaxy.
We won’t find out, of course, for a few more months. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens on December 20, 2019.
Featured image: Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX. Courtesy Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios