When Daisy Ridley joined the Star Wars universe in last year’s The Force Awakens, her brave, capable, and kind-hearted Rey immediately became a fan favorite — and she was hailed as a positive role model for young Star Wars fans everywhere. Some critics, however, dismissed Rey as a so-called “Mary Sue,” a term used to describe an unrealistically talented or perfect female character.
The term has its roots in fan fiction, where it’s usually used to describe a character that’s just thinly-veiled wish fulfillment, or the author inserting a perfect version of themself into a world they love. Over time, it’s evolved, and some Star Wars fans decried Rey as a Mary Sue, arguing that she was too skilled and too perfect to be a realistic Star Wars character.
Now, Ridley herself is weighing in. The actress sat down with MTV News’ “Happy Sad Confused” podcast to talk about narrating and executive producing her new documentary The Eagle Huntress, which follows a young Kazakh girl named Aisholpan, who pursues the traditionally male field of eagle hunting. Ridley drew parallels between Aisholpan and Rey, saying that she was initially “confused” by the accusations that Rey was a Mary Sue.
“The Mary Sue thing in itself is sexist because it’s the name of a woman,” Ridley said. “Everyone was saying that Luke had the exact same [capabilities]. I think Rey is incredible 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.”
As far as what Rey may be doing next in Episode VIII, Ridley kept tight-lipped, but she did talk about how much she loves newcomer Kelly Marie Tran, who plays a “crucial role,” and how it’s different acting opposite Mark Hamill instead of Harrison Ford.
“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.”