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Chuck Wendig @ChuckWendig
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I could talk about Important Shit this morning, or I could talk about why Rey's parentage is best left as it was in TLJ, but also how JJ Abrams could have his cake and eat it, too.

Rey comes from nothing. That's what we learn in THE LAST JEDI.

(And I know by typing those three words I am summoning from the ether a gaggle of poopy-butt trolls who will be summarily and giddily thrown into the Oubliette of Disregard.)
On the one hand, I understand the desire to make her a Skywalker -- or a Kenobi, or a Palpatine, or a Dathomirian Witch-Sister, or the daughter of Malakili the Rancor Keeper -- etc.

We have been trained by our stories to place great significance upon lineage.
But lineage is a trap. First, it's a lazy trap in terms of storytelling -- why create something new when you can just create Steve Skywalker, or Betty Solo, or Bobo Kenobi? It subs in for character development and organic plotting -- JUST PLUG AND PLAY.


*poop noise*
It's also a trap in terms of real-world thinking -- like, your last name doesn't make you who you are. It doesn't guarantee you a political legacy or a criminal one. It doesn't form for you a destiny. Because fuck destiny.
Also, placing a whole lotta reliance on bloodlines is... you know, it's creepy. The whiff of eugenics there. Plus the intimation that only those who come from important people can themselves be important.

Which is anathema to THE OL' STARB WARBS, if you ask me.
And I know, but it's like -- WAIT HOLD UP, Luke and Leia both come from that Rich Skywalker Blood, so it's not exactly anathema to STARB WARS, is it?

But Anakin comes from nothing.

Like, maybe literally?
WAIT HOLD UP -- personal plug, I wrote a little bit about this last week in a #teribleminds post -- about how we can give characters agency by letting them make history as opposed to be in thrall to destiny:…
More to the point, the heritage of the characters isn't particularly significant. Kenobi isn't part of some long line of Portland Kenobis, we don't know that Han Solo's dad was Norbert Solo, the Pirate King, Leia's parents aren't even her real parents, etc.
Yes, we have the Skywalkers, and that's literally it. That's the one instance we really have where that legacy matters, and even then, that legacy is only two steps deep -- from Kylo to Leia to Anakin, and Anakin came from like, a floating sack of nameless midichlorians.
oh p.s.

*takes a poop on midichlorians, which are a wretched fucking idea that sadly give credence to Star Wars 'bloodlines' mattering and turn the Force into a numerical stat on a character sheet*
So, to get back to Rey, here's why it matters -- and is awesome! -- that she comes from nothing.

(And by the way this conversation is inspired by this article at io9 --)…
Rey is a contrast to Kylo. That's good storytelling. The protagonist and antagonist are shadows and reflections of each other, right?

Kylo is the boy of destiny, a Skywalker of Jedi import! He is trapped by that destiny and used by (or is using) the First Order.
KYLO REN is the one you're looking for when it comes to "Jedi who have important parents." He's already it. And he's in with the First Order, a violent fascist club of Empire fanboys, and you who loves bloodlines? Imperial orders! EMPIRES, baby.
That's part of why Luke's lineage mattered -- not because it made him powerful, but because it made him alluring to Vader, who wanted to rule the galaxy as UNCLE AND SON -- wait, Vader was his uncle, right? Whatever, we'll fix it in post.
VADER is the one who cares about the lineage. Luke is a doe-eyed farmer of moistness on a fucking sand planet. Again: lineage is an Empire thing. A First Order thing.
But rebellions? Resistances? Regular life? It's made up of regular people who didn't all come from Skywalkers, who aren't Kennedys or Clintons or Bushes.

The fact that power can come from nothing is a resounding, mythical, vital message.
Rey being born of no noble or notable parent is freeing -- both for her as a character and for the story, who don't have to rely on the lazy, mechanical mystery of her heritage to generate conflict.
She is a child allowed to make her own history, not one pinned to the corkboard of destiny like a captive butterfly.

It also sends a message to all of us.

You can be somebody without "being* somebody.
That's powerful. You can affect change without a Proper Bloodline. You can be a hero without coming from heroes. Even better:

You can save yourself from trauma and abandonment. As she has. As she will.
Kylo exhorts her again and again to kill the past, to move past it, but the great thing is, she already HAS. That's what makes her scary and fascinating to him. He is trapped by the past. She isn't.
Now, much hay has been made about the subversive messaging of THE LAST JEDI as running counter to STARB WARBS -- which is both true and not at all true.

By which I mean --
Luke wants to kill the Jedi, until he doesn't. Kylo wants to kill the past and escape his destiny but then he steps into the Supreme Leader (The Supreme Leader is dead, long live the Supreme Leader, a great line that reinforces this cycle of his).
Even Yoda, finger-zapping the old tree with the books in it? Smart money says Yoda was well-aware Rey had the books already.
The subversion is less a subversion and more a reminder that STAR WARS -- sorry, STARB WARBS -- created its own patterns and then fell into them, and this shook them up a bit, and reminded us of the old ways. Look backward to look forward.
And Rey is a big part of that. Rey coming from nobody is a refutation of prequel-era thinking where Everybody's Origin Matters (aka "Every Clone Is Actually Boba Fett Because Reasons"). Rey's origin matters only in that it doesn't matter.
It frees her up to have agency, to not rely on narrative conveniences or mystery, and to not rely on Han or Luke or even Kylo -- it lets Rey be Rey, and stops Rey from being Lazy Shorthand Placeholder.

By making her nobody, she gets to be somebody.

She gets to be EVERYBODY.
Now, here's the thing:

JJA loves him some Mystery Box.

I think he loves the Mystery Box sometimes more than he loves the actual contents of the box. He cares so much about the question he maybe forgets about the answer sometimes.
I don't say this as a knock -- I think it let him make TFA into a helluva movie. I think the genius of LOST is right there. I love a good mystery.

So, question is, how can Rey's Nobody Parents still be a Mystery Box? How can it satisfy that need to further twist the answer?
And I think he could do it by still making her parents nobodies, by making them dead, and then by tying the mystery to that -- who killed them? And why? To what purpose? I don't think you need to do that, to be clear -- I'd rather you not.

BUT --
If JJA or someone were interested in making that a Mysterious Fulcrum Point while not undoing what was put forth in TLJ, that's how I think you'd do it.

ANYWAY okay there you go, my ramble is over.

*is just a robe*

*the robe blows away*

*the robe is caught on the ceiling fan*

*a noble, poignant death is suddenly made embarrassing as the ceiling fan begins to short out and the robe catches fire*
*the robe is now a ghost*

*the robe whispers in your ear*

buy my book

I mean sure, STAR WARS: AFTERMATH is on point but really so is DAMN FINE STORY available at Tosche Station next to the Power Converters

*robe ghost fades*
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