Last year when Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, one character many fans new and old alike identified with was newcomer Rey, a young woman trapped on a desert planet who discovers she is Force sensitive. Rey could not only use the Force, but had an affinity for mechanics and was a talented pilot, much like Anakin and Luke Skywalker.
Rey’s popularity soared so much that many criticized the fact she wasn’t featured in enough of the promotion or merchandise, such as her exclusion from the Star Wars Monopoly board game. Despite her popularity, however, there were just as many people who criticized the character herself for being a ‘Mary Sue’, a term used in literature to describe an all perfect female character who can do anything with little or no training and is infallible because the plot demands it.
Now, Rey actress Daisy Ridley has commented on Rey’s ‘Mary Sue’ status in MTV’s ‘Happy Sad Confused’ podcast. Ridley stated that “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.”
She does raise a good point, and one that has been raised by others in the past, that Luke and even Anakin before him were seen as all-powerful and near-perfect characters with talents far beyond their age. The only thing that really separates Rey from the Skywalkers is her gender.
She also discussed what it was like to work with Mark Hamill on the set of Episode VIII and how that experience differed from her work with Harrison Ford and Rey’s interactions with Han Solo and Luke. “They’re very uniquely different human beings,” she said. “It was very different. I don’t know how, just different energies. They’ve lived different lives, and they’re just different people.”
You can listen to the full interview here.