Rey’s lineage remained a mystery throughout the first two films in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, before it was revealed in Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker that she was the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine.
Speaking to guest host Josh Gad on Tuesday’s (8 September) episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, the actor explained how the character’s background was retooled during production.
“At the beginning there was toying with an Obi-Wan connection, and there were, like, different versions, and then it really went to that she was no one,” she said, referring to the initial revelation in The Last Jedi that her parents were not familiar Star Wars characters.
“And then it came to Episode IX,” she continued, “and [director JJ Abrams] pitched me the film, and was like, 'Oh yeah, Palpatine's grandaddy’ and I was like, ‘Awesome,’ and then two weeks later he was like, 'Oh we're not sure'.”
Ridley added that she “wasn’t sure what the answer was gonna be” right up to the start of filming.
Before it was revealed that she is descended from Palpatine, speculation was rife as to the identity of her parents.
As well as Obi-Wan Kenobi, it was suggested that she could be related to Luke Skywalker, Leia Skywalker, or Han Solo, the three leads from the original Star Wars trilogy.
John Boyega, who played Finn in the sequel trilogy, recently suggested that the saga’s non-white characters (including his) were treated with less attention and nuance than the white leads.
He said: “What I would say to Disney is: do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.
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“Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver. You knew what to do with these other people, but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know f*** all.”
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