The Mystery Box – Rey’s Parentage


A major criticism of The Last Jedi was surprisingly Rey’s parentage.  This is one issue I somewhat agree with.  I quite like the idea of Rey being from nobody parents.  However I also feel that the previous film spent too much effort on making Rey appear to have famous roots.

The Force Awakens was directed by J.J. Abrams, who for those living under a rock for the last few years, is best known for creating shows like Alias and Lost.  Both shows feature the use of a plot element Abrams has termed “The Mystery Box.”  For Abrams, the story of the journey to the “Box” is more important than what is inside.  For example, Lost has become notorious for making “The Mystery Box” it’s central story arc.

Abrams introduced three major mysteries in The Force Awakens.  One of them, the mystery of Luke’s lightsaber getting to Maz Kanada, is left unanswered at this point.  The other two are Rey’s parentage and Supreme Leader Snoke’s origins.  Snoke is abruptly killed off midway through The Last Jedi without any explanation of his backstory.  Meanwhile Rey is revealed to be the daughter of two nobodies.

Rian Johnson’s answer to Rey’s mystery is probably the best way to develop the character.  After all, being special because of some famous familial legacy is a cliche overused in fiction.  Making Rey a character who chooses her own path regardless of lineage is a refreshing change from the norm.  And it appears that J.J. Abrams, who is returning to direct Episode IX, had been considering a similar resolution.

The problem is that Abrams’ “Mystery Box” raised fan expectations to the point that some were disappointed with the answer, I must point out that is the double-edged sword of any mystery.  In this case, I feel it is best to accept what happened and move on.  After all, now that we have the mystery out of the way, the next film will have more room to develop.


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