Rey of Light: Why the new heroine of Star Wars is a 21st century icon | Virgin Media
Rey of Light: Why the new heroine of Star Wars is a 21st century icon

Related

There has been an awakening in the Force. Have you felt it? Damn right you have, and a big part of why Star Wars feels relevant for the first time in 17 years is largely due to one badass character – Daisy Ridley’s Rey is tough, smart, resourceful and brutal with a bo staff, a bonafide 21st century action heroine. And with Star Wars: The Force Awakens arriving on Virgin Movies this week, here’s how Rey became the brightest new star in a galaxy far, far way. Spoiler alert, obvs. 

Rey’s the movie’s big twist…

“You dropped something”

“You dropped something”

Thank the maker for JJ Abram’s Jedi-death grip on spoilers. The Force Awakens’ initial trailers suggested the new owner of Luke Skywalker’s old lightsaber would be Fin. Instead, the blue blade finally flies into the hands of its rightful owner – Rey – for that planet-shredding dust up with Kylo Ren.

 

She’s the best of all worlds

Rey embodies the coolness of Luke, Han and Leia

Rey embodies the coolness of Luke, Han and Leia

In order to preserve the mystery over Rey’s parentage – whether its Luke, Han or Leia – the filmmakers put Rey at the centre of a Venn diagram of those characters’ coolest points: Luke’s innocence and awesome Forcery, Han’s badassness and tech-knowhow and Leia’s fearlessness and leadership.

 

She’s no damsel in distress…

Quicker than a Rey of light

Quicker than a Rey of light

Unlike nearly every other fantasy action film heroine ever, Rey doesn’t need rescuing by the fellas. Not to say she doesn’t need rescuing – being an all-action adventuress tends to stick you right in the Bantha poodoo – but that she’s got all the skills to deliver herself, as Fin and Han find out on Starkiller Base. 

 

She can pilot the Millennium Falcon…

“Left a bit…right a bit…now straighten it up”

“Left a bit…right a bit…now straighten it up”

Unlike nearly every other fantasy action film heroine ever, Rey doesn’t need rescuing by the fellas. Not to say she doesn’t need rescuing – being an all-action adventuress tends to stick you right in the Bantha poodoo – but that she’s got all the skills to deliver herself, as Fin and Han find out on Starkiller Base.

 

She’s ‘Force Sensitive’

"You will remove these restraints and leave the cell with the door open."

Forget dropping the mic, Rey gets a drop the blaster moment. 

 

She’s inspired a whole new generation of fans…

The Force is strong with this one (Source: Pinterest.com)

The Force is strong with this one (Source: Pinterest.com)

…And not the usual Star Wars demographic judging by social media. Rey’s turned the word ‘fanboy’ into a misnomer, with young girls finding real empowerment in her story. Princess Elsa’s going to have some big competition this year at the fancy dress shop. 

 

But it’s not that much of a shock Rey’s so awesome…

"Get ready!"

Writer/director JJ Abrams has a long history of conjuring up cool, complete female characters, whether Sydney Bristow in Alias or Felicity’s title character. In fact, Abrams was so determined to give his new leading lady the spotlight that it was one of the reasons that he Luke stays off stage for most of the movie. 

 

She was always part of the plan…

Must talk Droid

Must talk Droid

Abrams had decided very early on that the series’ new focus would be “the ultimate outsider”, a hot-headed female scavenger with a big mystery surrounding her. And her name initially was… Kira Rey. Hang on, that sounds familiar? 

 

Daisy Ridley is a baggage-free zone… 

Except this baggage, obviously

Except this baggage, obviously

The breakout star of The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley has the advantage of being a complete unknown – a fresh new discovery lugging no “Aren’t you that dude from Trainspotting?” cinematic luggage behind her. In fact, when she was cast, Ridley was working in a bar. We hear she can pour a mean glass of blue milk. 

 

But Ridley didn’t get the role by luck…

Bagging the most in-demand part on the planet didn’t come easy. Ridley had to fight hard for her part over a series of five trying auditions, convincing Abrams that she could be the face of the new Star Wars trilogy, capable of being naïve, fierce, warm and terrified, all within moments. And as you can see from one tearful audition, the Force is strong with this one.

 

She must complete the training…

Source: Instagram/@daisyridley

Source: Instagram/@daisyridley

Getting Force-fit doesn’t just rely on closing your eyes and concentrating. Ridley spent a lot of time in the gym – five hours a day, five days a week for three months – posting Instagram updates of her progress.

 

Ridley had to be tough on set too…

She might not have had to face a Rathtar, but Ridley had to hang out with poisonous scorpions on the Abu Dhabi dunes and on malfunctioning sets that threw burning sparks at her. “She took a minute,” says Abrams, “Shook it off, and we were back up and running in 15 minutes.” The director didn’t let his new wonder girl get off lightly either, challenging a nervy Ridley for being ‘wooden’ early on in the shoot, with Daisy flowering under pressure.

 

She holds her own against Harrison Ford

She holds her own against Harrison Ford

Even the cranky legend was well impressed with the new kid in the Falcon. "The key to [being in Star Wars] is creating an emotional reality in context to some very weird stuff. Daisy rightly understood that to be a part of the challenge: giving a sense of reality in a context where you have Chewbacca walking around."

 

And she’ll be carrying the next movie…

Or Mark Hamill at very least, if his Instagram posts are anything to go by…

Source: Instagram/@hamillhimself

Source: Instagram/@hamillhimself

Recommended for you