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Rey Was Almost Related To A Completely Different Star Wars Character

When the Star Wars sequel trilogy kicked off with The Force Awakens, fans were introduced to a new hero, Rey (Daisy Ridley), and a new mystery: who are Rey's parents? As her story unfolded, it became clear that the heritage of this scavenger-turned-Jedi would play a big role in the mythology of the franchise. It was a question that launched a million fan theories and countless hours of speculation, which came to an end when it was revealed in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that Rey's grandfather was the malevolent Palpatine.

If you felt like you were somewhat in the dark about this unexpected twist, then you were in good company. According to Ridley, J.J. Abrams — despite being the director of both the first and last chapters of the trilogy — wasn't sure, either. Ridley recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where she was grilled by guest host Josh Gad about how long she had to keep Rey's secret. As it turns out, not long at all, as the question of Rey's origins wasn't answered by the creatives behind the films until the very end.

Early on, there was even a completely different idea for who Rey's ancestors would be. "At the beginning, there was toying with an Obi-Wan connection," Ridley revealed, "and then... there were, like, different versions. And then it really went to that she was no one."

Of course, they ended up going in a different direction than either Obi-Wan Kenobi or no one for Rey's parents. So how and when did the Palpatine connection came about?

When exactly did J.J. Abrams decide on who Rey was related to?

According to Ridley, she didn't find out that Rey was a descendant of Palpatine until The Rise of Skywalker entered production. She explained to Gad, "It came to Episode 9, and J.J. pitched me the film and was like, 'Oh, yeah, Palpatine's your granddaddy.' And I was like, 'Awesome.'"

However, even once the Palpatine connection was decided on, it apparently wasn't an idea that was set in carbonite. According to Ridley, the answer kept changing even while the final chapter was in front of cameras: "And then two weeks later he was like, 'Oh, we're not sure.' So it kept changing... I wasn't sure what the answer was going to be."

There's no doubt Star Wars fans are going to have some opinions about this latest revelation regarding the controversial end to the Skywalker Saga. And they'll also have many more questions, as Gad demonstrated when he asked the follow-up, "If Palpatine's your grandfather, who exactly is your grandmother in that scenario?"

Ridley merely shrugged, and replied, "You tell me, Josh."