We finally know where Rey is, but that leaves another question for Star Wars fans to wrestle with for the next two years: Just who is Rey?
As we learned in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey (Daisy Ridley) — if that is her real name — was abandoned as a child on the desert planet Jakku, and is quite powerful in the ways of the Force. All that skill raises the question of whether she could be related to another familiar face from the original trilogy.
Some fans suspect that Rey is actually a Skywalker, pointing to the fact that Luke (Mark Hamill) may have recognized her – or at least wasn’t surprised by her presence – in the final moments of Force Awakens. (More fuel for this theory: Rey was drawn to the lightsaber that belonged to Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker before winding up in her possession.) But another theory, posited by EW’s Anthony Breznican last summer and recently catching further fire online, speculates Rey could be a relative of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
So, how much does Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams actually know about Rey’s real identity? “I know quite a bit,” he told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour on Tuesday. But the notoriously spoiler-phobic producer wasn’t about to spill it ahead of Episode VIII, which will be directed by Rian Johnson.
“Obviously it’s not for me to talk about in this moment because this is Rian’s story to continue now. The last thing I’m going to do is reveal something that he would be upset about. I want to make sure that Rian gets the courtesy that he showed me.”
One would think keeping a secret this monumental would be difficult for just about anyone in the world, but “not for me,” Abrams said with a laugh. Let’s not forget, this is the director who refused to reveal the antagonist in Cloverfield or Super 8 or Star Trek Into Darkness or… you get the point.
With that said, Abrams is just as excited about the next installment as the fans are. “My enthusiasm for Episode VIII is enormous,” he said. “I’m very much excited for and very jealous of anyone, especially Rian, who gets to work so closely with this extraordinary cast and crew, truly an amazing group. In that regard for sure, but I’m also relieved to have gotten a chance to do a Star Wars movie.”
And for those still mourning the loss of our favorite scruffy looking nerf herder, Abrams explained his reasoning behind that shocking moment with Han Solo (Harrison Ford). “We knew we needed to do something that was bold and maybe unexpected,” he said.
During TCA, Abrams also discussed his feelings about the lack of Rey merchandise, teased whether The Force Awakens will have deleted scenes or an extended cut, hinted that Harrison Ford should get an Oscar, said we shouldn’t expect a Felicity reboot, debuted the first trailer for his time-travel miniseries 11.22.63 and revealed his CBS drama Person of Interest was likely canceled after this season.