Following the theatrical release of the blockbuster hit Star Wars: The Force Awakens late last year, the world has been retaken by Star Wars fever all over again. With two more franchise film installments on the way in the forms of Episode VIII and Episode IX – not to mention the forthcoming anthology film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story due out this December and the untitled Han Solo movie in 2018 – things continue to look up for everyone’s favorite sci-fi franchise from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
After introducing a whole host of new characters in The Force Awakens, fans of the franchise (created by George Lucas way back in 1977) have been abuzz surrounding any developments regarding new Star Wars fan-favorites like Rey (Daisey Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and the faithful droid BB-8. However, some Rey have painted in a negative light by labeling her as a Mary Sue – a colloquial term amounting to any idealized or seemingly-perfect female protagonist possessing unrealistic abilities. In response to said accusations, Ridley has come forward to defend Rey as a fictional character.
Ridley recently sat down to discuss her work as an executive producer on the new documentary The Eagle Huntress on the MTV News podcast “Happy Sad Confused”. During the discussion, Ridley took the time to address those who have called Rey a Mary Sue – expressing bafflement and general consternation against anyone who would apply the label to the popular Star Wars character:
“The Mary Sue thing in itself is sexist because it’s the name of a woman. Everyone was saying that Luke had the exact same [capabilities]. I think Rey is incredibly vulnerable, and nothing she’s doing is for the greater good. She’s just doing what she thinks is the right thing. And she doesn’t want to do some of it, but she feels compelled to do it. So for me, I was just confused.”
Whether or not Star Wars fans and general entertainment commentators will agree with Ridley’s fairly bold assessment is up for debate, though it’s hard to find fault with the actress’ enthusiasm and love for the character on an emotional level. Throughout The Force Awakens, it is true that many of Rey’s actions are based in self-interest – though some of her abilities and prowess could still be attributed to the Mary Sue label, provided the right contextual argument.
It’s certainly exciting to know that the actress who plays Rey is aware of and taking the criticisms of the Star Wars character being a Mary Sue seriously. Regardless of where you fall in thinking about the level of wish fulfillment involved on the part of those who created Rey, Ridley’s defense of the fan-favorite heroine should serve to brighten the day for plenty of the character’s most ardent supporters.