• Entertainment
  • movies

Here’s the Real Reason Behind Rey’s Controversial Origin Story in The Last Jedi

2 minute read

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The Last Jedi saw Rey finally learn the truth about her parents, but it certainly wasn’t the answer she — or some fans — wanted to hear.

“They were filthy junk traders who sold you off for drinking money,” Kylo Ren told her after betraying and killing Supreme Leader Snoke. “They’re dead in a paupers’ grave in the Jakku desert.”

However, during a recent appearance on Empire Podcast‘s Spoiler Special, director Rian Johnson revealed that there were some very good reasons behind his decision to make Rey’s parents two nobodies.

“I went through all the possibilities of who her parents could be. I made a list, with the upsides and downsides,” he said. “There were two things about this option that made it feel right to me. Firstly. I like the idea that we’re breaking out from the notion that the force is this genetic thing that you have to be tied to somebody to have. It’s the ‘anybody can be president’ idea.”

Johnson went on to say that this narrative also forces Rey to take responsibility for what happens in her story rather than forming her identity around someone else.

“For me, if Rey had gotten the answer that she’s related to so-and-so, had learned her place in the story, that would be the easiest thing she can hear.” he explained. “The hardest thing to hear is, ‘Nope, this not going to define you.’ And in fact, Kylo is going to use this to try and undercut your confidence so you’ll feel you have to lean on him for your identity. And you’re going to have to make the choice to find your own identity in this story.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com