Rian Johnson Gives His Interpretation Of Rey’s Enigmatic Mirror Vision

Rian Johnson Gives His Interpretation Of Rey’s Enigmatic Mirror Vision

The Last Jedi continues down its path to becoming the most explained Star Wars movie ever made, as director and writer Rian Johnson offers some interesting insight into one of the film’s most intriguing moments.

Image: Lucasfilm/Disney

Rey goes into the Dark Side pit, and in it she finds… herself. A lot of herselves, a long line of mirror images, extending all the way into eternity. For a young woman desperate to learn her place in the world, and the truth about her heritage, this revelation from the Force is more than baffling. But according to Johnson, it was a part of her story from near the beginning.

“The origin of that was honesty just very, very, very early before I started even coming up with story,” he told a crowd during a recent Q&A, as reported by ComicBook.com. “It was a visual image I had in my head just when I was thinking about Rey and thinking about what was important to her and her search really for identity and for place.”

Johnson went on to offer his own interpretation of the scene, and how the image connects to Rey’s ultimate growth. “So, it was just an image that came into my head of this infinite line of, you know, possibilities of self in this infinite line of possibilities of identity and the notion then of playing with which one is the quote-unquote real her,” he said. “Which one is going to be her and where does it end, and it does end someplace. It ends at a place that shows her basically her kind of worst fear which is that it’s just her.”

Of course, that isn’t the end of the story: There’s Leia, and the Resistance, and her future as a Jedi (or at least a powerful Force user of some variety). But what a terrifying image for someone looking for her parents, and her place in the galaxy. A whole hall of mirrors. No one to see but herself.



  • If you have to explain any part of the story (be that a book or a movie) to an informed consumer, you have failed at your job (as a story teller, and this case both a writer and a director)… and this appears to be the case here Mister Johnson. I sincerely hope you will learn from your mistakes…

    • I think that’s way too concrete. Sometimes explaining something to your audience proves you’ve failed, other times it proves that there’s layers of meaning and multiple interpretations. Look at something like 2001: A Space Odyssey.

      • Interesting observation… I do agree, but at the same time I would like to note that 2001 and Star Wars are two different films with different target audience and goals.

        • The problem with that statement is the word “audience”. Star Wars has such a vast fandom and appeal that it transcends multiple categories. The sort of people who watch Arrested Development and The Wire love Star Wars; as do people who watch The Bachelor and Big Brother.

          Rian Johnson has created layers and nuance for all of them.

          You can go to Star Wars as a five-year-old and appreciate the CGI animals and cool fight scenes, or you could go with a PhD and dissect the philosophy and politics of of good and evil.

          Ditto for the explaining. Some people need things explained, some people don’t. If you don’t need it, don’t click on an article explaining more Star Wars 🙂

    • I would say if you feel the need to have the director of a film explain the philosophical images in the film, you’ve failed as a filmgoer. Not everything needs to be explained, not everything needs to make sense on first viewing. Heaven forbid you have to think about something and draw your own conclusions as to the meanings behind things.

      But I suppose that’s just the world we live in now. If something isn’t dumbed down to the absolute lowest common denominator, it’ll be lambasted. We see it in films, where major blockbusters, like this, can’t have anything remotely unexplained, it needs to be a dumb Marvel fight scene for 2 hours, or nothing. We see it in everyday life, where we need to put safety tags on obvious things, because people are too stupid to realise sticking a hair drying in the bath is probably not a great idea.

    • Yeah! Fuck art! Fuck interpretation! If I have to think about it in any way, it’s trash tier shit for casuals!

    • That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read in a while. I enjoy nothing better than watching movies where the story line isn’t stuffed down my throat like I’m a child.

      • But the story line is always there in a film, it is the art of telling it that is being judged here not the story line itself. Your comments suggest you want films without scripts and stories, those are often called Reality TV and even then they have some propping up in them 🙂

  • On a side note, why do I need to come to kotaku.com.au to comment on a story from gizmodo.com.au? What’s wrong with their comment section, and why hasn’t there been any announcement about it at all?

    • Interesting how Gizmodo was manage to introduce prefixes in titles such as Opinion: in order to deal with a possibility that what the author of the story is voicing is just that…

  • Sorry, can someone put that in layman’s terms.. I read it 3 times and I’m still lost.. maybe I’m still half asleep??

    • Basically she wanted to know about who she was and who her parents were but in the end, despite all the possible identities she could have (the reflections), Rey is still just who she is and needs to define herself rather than rely on others to.

  • This scene didn’t really need explaining did it? the message didn’t seem particularly subtle to me.

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