Disney has done everything they can to keep major spoilers for every Star Wars movie from getting out ahead of opening night, and for the most part, that has been successful. Nobody knew for sure that Han Solo would be killed off at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens until it premiered, and the fate of the main characters in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story remained quiet until the very end, as well.
That may not totally be the case with Episode VIII, however. Adam Driver may have just casually revealed some major spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But we have a major reason why it might not be about Rey. Consider this a warning: Reading on puts you at the risk of learning major The Last Jedi spoilers.
In a GQ article, Adam Driver makes a lot of statements about his character — Kylo Ren — and the upcoming movie. No doubt, fans are curious what the future holds for Ren.
I remember the initial conversations about having things “skinned.” Peeling away layers to evolve into other people, and the person Kylo’s pretending to be on the outside is not who he is. He’s a vulnerable kid who doesn’t know where to put his energy, but when he puts his mask on, suddenly, he’s playing a role. JJ had that idea initially and I think Rian took it to the next level.
But it was a statement he seemingly made unprompted, cryptic and undefined, that has everybody talking. “You have, also, the hidden identity of this princess who’s hiding who she really is so she can survive and Kylo Ren and her hiding behind these artifices,” Driver says.
The assumption is that Driver has blown the secrecy surrounding Rey wide open. But there may be more to this than people are assuming.
Kylo Ren is conflicted
Before we can break down exactly what Driver meant in those statements, we need to look at the arc surrounding his character. He mentions that Kylo Ren is pretending to be something that he’s not, and we could interpret that a few ways. We know that he’s conflicted, because he admitted as much to his father, Han Solo, right before he murdered him. Is Ren feeling the pull to the light side of the Force stronger than he is letting on?
Star Wars, in general, has been all about the redemption storyline. Darth Vader started out as a monster in the eyes of the fans, but George Lucas unraveled layers in the original trilogy that took him from being an evil wizard inside a helmet to the hero of the final act in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. The set up for Ren’s redemption is clear, so when he talks about being a vulnerable kid that doesn’t know where to put his energy, it has meaningful ties to his family — specifically, Luke and Leia.
Kylo and his mother
Speaking of family, there was that moment in the trailer where it was seemingly teased that Kylo Ren may blow up his own mother’s ship. But that doesn’t appear likely to happen for a handful of reasons. The first of which is that they’ve already teased it and shown his trepidation. If they showed us that moment in the trailer, only to have him actually kill Leia — well, that’s bad on Disney’s part for feeding us one of the biggest moments in Star Wars history before the movie hits theaters.
Another reason why he’s not going to kill Leia in that moment is because it ruins the redemption arc. There is already a segment of Star Wars fans that will never be able to get past Ren having murdered Han Solo at the end of The Force Awakens. If he kills off Leia — another iconic character — and in the process his last remaining parent, it’s kind of hard to push any sort of redemption for the character. Fans wouldn’t accept it.
And the final point is that one prominent costar of the late Carrie Fisher has pretty much confirmed that Leia would survive the events of Episode VIII.
Recently, Mark Hamill has suggested that the wrap on Leia’s story won’t come in The Last Jedi, but in Episode IX. Speaking at an event, Hamill seemingly confirmed that Leia will survive The Last Jedi and that they’ll “close out Fisher’s story in 9.”
Who are Rey’s parents?
But back to the spoiler. GQ assumes that Driver is talking about Rey when he refers to a princess that is hiding who she really is so that she can survive. Let’s assume for a moment that he really is talking about Rey. Who is she, then? And who are her parents?
The entire storyline would come out of left field. Why would a king or queen leave Rey, a princess, alone on the sand planet of Jakku in a junkyard with Unkar Plutt? An explanation could be created, but it would feel awfully contrived. Nothing we learned in The Force Awakens led us organically to the eventual realization that Rey is a princess from some unknown world, and you can color us shocked if that’s where they’re headed with her story.
If Driver wasn’t really talking about Rey, then what exactly did those comments mean?
Who was he really talking about?
It seems fairly likely that Driver wasn’t referring to Rey at all, but Kylo Ren’s mother, General (Princess) Leia Organa. And it makes sense, why she would want to hide who she is. To the average viewer, the fact that Leia is the daughter of Darth Vader — one of the most evil and sinister people ever to roam the galaxy — is common knowledge. We learn this early on in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
But there are a few facts from the Star Wars universe that must be digested. Vader is still perceived as the evil he committed behind the shield of the Empire, despite the viewer knowing he turned back to the light side of the Force in his final moments. His relation to Leia, the adopted daughter of Bail and Breha Organa, is not common knowledge.
The fact that the key leader of the Resistance is the daughter of Darth Vader would be extremely damaging to the cause, and it’s certainly something that Leia would be striving to keep a secret.
Then who is Rey?
If Driver was, in fact, speaking about Leia in that moment and not Rey — as GQ assumed — then we’re still left with the same questions about the sequel trilogy’s protagonist. Who is Rey, and where does she come from?
The fact that it has been left mostly a mystery is really a good thing. Making her Luke’s daughter was low-hanging fruit and would make little sense, given all that we’ve learned to this point. She also doesn’t appear to have any relation to Han Solo, although it seemed clear that he (and Leia) both knew who she was in The Force Awakens.
Rey’s backstory, as it becomes more clear in The Last Jedi, is much more significant than merely being the daughter of previously known characters. Even if she does end up with familiar parents, the most recent trailer makes it clear that her strength in the Force is something special in and of itself.
Problems for Luke Skywalker
Speaking of Luke, Hamill recently has continued to allude to his problems with where the sequel trilogy has taken the character. It’s understandable that Hamill may have created his own thoughts of where the character might have gone in the 32 years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, given his stake in ownership of Luke Skywalker.
But here is what Hamill had to say to the New York Times about his limited role in Episode VII. “If it smacks the audience as a cheat or a gimmick, if there’s a big groan in the house, the egg’s on my face, not J.J.’s,” he said.
His feelings on where they went with his character in The Last Jedi are even more telling. “That’s the hard part,” Hamill said. “You don’t want to admit how possessive you’ve become. There are times where you go, ‘Really? That’s what they think of Luke? I’m not only in disagreement — I’m insulted.’ But that’s the process and you thrash it all out.”
For now, we’re going to have to follow Hamill’s lead and simply trust the vision of Rian Johnson for The Last Jedi.
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