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Star Wars Screenwriter Chris Terrio Shares the Two Questions that Drive The Rise of Skywalker

I too want to know these things.

Rey readies herself for battle in the first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

We’ve all got questions about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker—even its creators. Screenwriter Chris Terrio shared the two that he and cowriter and director J.J. Abrams decided would drive the plot of the film. There’s a question about Rey, of course, and a question that gets a little more cosmic in nature.

The first—and therefore more important—question centers on the heroine of the trilogy. Terrio told Empire that one of the questions “is a simple one: ‘Who is Rey?’ Which is a question that people not only wonder about quite literally, but wonder about in the spiritual sense. How can Rey become the spiritual heir to the Jedi? 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 be learned of 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?”

It doesn’t seem like the “who is Rey” question means we’ll be revisiting who Rey’s parents are, though if they reveal her “nobody” parents were actually Dark Side acolytes, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the galaxy. But Rey clearly matters to the galaxy. As Snoke said in The Last Jedi, the more powerful Kylo became with the Dark Side, the Force would send him his equal in the Light. Rey is that equal, and she doesn’t need famous parents to explain that away, but that still raises the question of why the Force chose her.

Rey also faces the task of saving the galaxy and carrying on the legacy of the Jedi. That’s not easy. By focusing on who Rey is as a character and hero, hopefully that means that Rey’s development will be prioritized and we’ll get to really understand her as a character. What will Rey’s ultimate role be in the galaxy? What does the future hold for her? These are all important questions, and I’m glad that they were key to the writing of the script.

The other question focuses more on the Force itself, the guiding power in the galaxy. Terrio said, “The second one is, ‘How strong is the Force?’ It sounds a little simple, but actually when you get down to it, that is a sort of Zen Koan that we would really meditate on—not literally in yoga poses or anything, but like we would discuss, ‘What is the Force and how strong is the Force?’ Those two things were really important.”

The Force, as we’ve seen previously, is fairly freaking strong, but the implication that we’ll see a new and strong side of the Force is thrilling. Could we be venturing into the World Between Worlds, as shown in Star Wars Rebels? A place out of time and space, the World Between Worlds was one of the places Palpatine tried to conquer but failed. It features portals that allow you to enter any time in the galaxy. Could the final duel between Rey and Kylo (and, probably, Palpatine) play out there?

The questions at the heart of The Rise of Skywalker are incredibly intriguing. December 20 can’t come fast enough.

(via Empire, image: Lucasfilm)

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Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.