Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” surprised many fans by upending a lot of the expectations J.J. Abrams set in his trilogy starter “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Some fans have criticized Johnson for his creative choices, but Abrams tells the Associated Press that nothing Johnson executed in “The Last Jedi” threw off track the narrative that Lucasfilm planned for the latest trilogy since the beginning.
“The story that we’re telling, the story that we started to conceive when we did ‘The Force Awakens’ was allowed to continue,” Abrams said. “Episode VIII didn’t really derail anything that we were thinking about.”
One decision Johnson made in “The Last Jedi” that threw fans for a loop was killing off Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) without revealing any of the character’s backstory. Abrams’ introduction of the character in “The Force Awakens” led many fans to believe Snoke would be the primary antagonist of the trilogy (similar to Emperor Palpatine) and theorize about Snoke’s real identity. Johnson threw out fan theory speculation by simply killing the character without fanfare. Fans did not know it at the time, but Palpatine is now returning for “The Rise of Skywalker.” The way Abrams talks about it makes it sound like Palpatine’s return was always in the cards, which would mean Johnson’s decision to kill Snoke in “The Last Jedi” didn’t change the larger narrative at all.
The issue surrounding Rey’s parents is more pressing for fans. Many viewers spent the bulk of the wait in between “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” theorizing who Rey’s parents might be, only for Johnson’s script to have Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) reveal they were nobody special. In Kylo’s words, Rey’s parents were “filthy junk traders who sold [her] off for drinking money.”
Some “Star Wars” fans took “The Last Jedi” reveal to be Johnson ruining Rey’s character, while others were delightfully surprised that Rey was a common person and not a descendent of a Skywalker or Kenobi. And yet, fans of the Rey twist are now worried Abrams will retcon Johnson’s decision and reveal in “The Rise of Skywalker” that her parents were major characters.
“I will say there is more to the story [of Rey’s parentage] than you’ve seen,” Abrams said at Star Wars Celebration in April.
Abrams’ latest quote to ET Canada helps clear up the friction between his movies and Johnson’s “The Last Jedi.” Whatever ends up happening with Rey’s parents is not a retconning of Johnson’s script because “The Last Jedi” didn’t throw off Abrams’ plan for the new trilogy. Fans will find out how Abrams brings the Skywalker saga to its end when “The Rise of Skywalker” opens December 20.