The Last Jedi answered a lot of swirling questions about Rey (Daisy Ridley), but it also included a few scenes of visual madness that set minds churning on their possible meaning for the future of Star Wars. Now director Rian Johnson is here with some answers.
Spoiler warning: This article discusses spoilers for The Last Jedi. If you want the film to deliver all the surprises first, turn back now!
On Ahch-To, Rey’s quest to convince Luke Skywalker to help her ran into more than a few hiccups, including the strange dual temptations of Kylo Ren and the island’s dark, foreboding cave. Initially succumbing to both, Rey explores the cave and has a trippy vision in its mirrored walls. Speaking with /Film, Johnson chimed in with some clarification.
“Well, the idea that this natural place reflected,” Johnson said in the podcast. “The idea that if there’s a Jedi Temple up top, the light, it has to be balanced by a place of great darkness. We’re drawing a very obvious connection to Luke’s training and to Dagobah here, obviously,” he added, referencing The Empire Strikes Back.
Luke, who also ventured into darkness at the beginning of his formal training, needed to face his curiosity and self-doubt. Rey sought answers. In response, The Last Jedi gave her a vision mimicking Harry Potter‘s magical Mirror of Erised (that shows whatever someone most desires, like their parents) and the fake-out psychology of Empire Strikes Back. Continuing, Johnson said that Rey “descends down into there and has to see, just like Luke did in the cave, her greatest fear. And her greatest fear is [that], in the search for identity, she has nobody but herself to rely on.”
While the mystery of her heritage appears to have been solved (that is, if you buy Kylo Ren's explanation of it), the question of her ultimate loyalty and dedication remains. Luke remained tempted until his final moments, which was a huge plot point in The Last Jedi. Will Rey have deeper conviction or face similar struggles in Episode IX?