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The mystery of Rey's lineage is just one of several big questions about the Star Wars character played by Daisy Ridley. Another is how she'll carry on the immense legacy of the Jedi Order after the passing of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) at the end of the last film.
Speaking with Empire Magazine for the publication's January issue, co-screenwriter Chris Terrio (Justice League) intimated that The Rise of Skywalker (out next month) will reveal that Rey is less of a Jedi and more of a "spiritual" successor to the mystical movement that nearly went extinct several times.
"There were two [ideas that started the writing process], really. One of them is a simple one: 'Who is Rey?' Which is a question people not only wonder about quite literally, but wonder about in the spiritual sense. How can Rey become the spiritual heir to the Jedi?" said Terrio, who wrote the script with director J.J. Abrams. "We kept coming back to 'Who is Rey?' and how can we give the most satisfying answer to that, not only factually—because obviously people are interested in whether there's more to Rey's story—but more importantly, who is she as a character? How will she find the courage and will and inner strength and power to carry on what she's inherited?"
If Rey ends up founding a different Force-using organization, it would certainly play into theories that started to become prominent on the day that The Rise of Skywalker dropped its first teaser trailer back in April. Some on the internet postulated that the use of "Skywalker" in the movie's title referred not only to the end of the Skywalker Saga, but also to a brand-new group of Jedi-esque warriors named after Rey's mentor, Luke. The theories added that the Jedi have proved themselves irresponsible over the centuries and that a new "religion" was needed in the galaxy.
The new issue of Empire (not related to Palpatine) also touches on new characters like Keri Russell's Zorii Bliss, an old friend of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) who lends a helping hand to the Resistance. Resembling a biker from our galaxy, Bliss was apparently inspired by Abrams' love of a classic staple of Japanese-produced television.
"There was this female character when J.J. was young—I think it was in Speed Racer or something," Russell told the magazine. "She rode a motorbike and had this helmet. He goes, 'I could never see her face and I was always obsessed with what she looked like.' That was the genesis of this character, because he always wanted to know who she was."
For all of the new characters like Bliss, there are plenty of familiar ones, too. For example, Billy Dee Williams is reprising his role of Lando Calrissian for the first time in 36 years. Rumored to be the father of newcomer Jannah (played by Naomi Ackie), Lando is a member of the old guard that Abrams wishes could have returned sooner.
"I wish that we'd gotten to bring Lando in [for The Force Awakens]," the director said, also admitting that he'd have liked to see Rey train with Luke in Episode VII, which brought Skywalker in for a minute at the very end. "I wish all sorts of things. But I was thrilled that Lando had't come back, because we got to bring him back [in this one]."
All of the mysteries will be answered when The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters Friday, Dec. 20.