Fair warning: There will be very minor spoilers for The Force Awakens within this post, centered largely on the awesomeness of Rey – I will try my utmost to ensure that no plot points are revealed, but there may be some comments on dialogue and on her ability and prowess in the movie. I’ll try to be as vague as I possibly can, however, as the movie has only been out for a relatively short time and there’s a chance that some people may not have had a chance to see the movie yet; although you really should, if you haven’t this post shouldn’t completely ruin the movie for you.
That being said, I genuinely feel that the most important thing about the movie isn’t that it’s the sequel that we should have received back when the Phantom Menace came out, and the sequel that millions of people have been hoping and waiting for since Return Of The Jedi (although those are certainly pretty note worthy), but rather the main character; Rey.
Final warning: minor spoilers will follow from here on out, but again, I’ll try and keep it vague.
Historically most action movies are lead primarily by male characters, or place women in a role that’s little better than a damsel in distress archetype; not all, granted, but more often than not that is the case.
Rey is a breath of fresh air. Played by the talented Daisy Ridley she is an extremely capable character that more than holds her own amidst some of the biggest names in the Star Wars universe throughout the movie.
It’s tough to talk about Rey too much wile keeping the spoilers to a minimum because a lot of what’s so great about her is highlighted so well; she is exactly the kind of character that needed to be seen on the silver screen. In an age when female led action movies don’t seem to garner the attention that others do -whether because of a lack of quality, star power, or interest – she shows little girls that they don’t have to rely on men to save them from peril; very early in the movie, Rey proves that she’s not going to be the stereotypical damsel in distress. Which is something that’s not unfamiliar to Star Wars fans; Leia wasn’t exactly useless in the original trilogy (I’ve only seen the Prequels once and I don’t remember much about them, or Amidala‘s role within them, and I couldn’t bring myself to rewatch them for this article).
Rey is already resonating with fans of all ages, as the image from Daisy Ridley‘s Instagram of a young fan in full Rey costume a week or so after the release of the movie below shows, and her popularity will only sky rocket from here. That’s an incredibly good thing.
That Disney, director J.J. Abrams, or whomever else had the final decision, did decide to have Rey be the ass kickingly capable character that she is, is commendable. With all of the superhero, comic book or generally geek orientated movies released over the past few years, it’s about time young fans had a strong female lead to look up too, and what better place to have Daisy Ridley shine than in the biggest movie of the year?
But (and there is always a but) there have been rumblings on line wondering where is all the Rey merchandise? According to some reports and comment threads there is a distinct lack of Rey toys. While that was certainly the case (initially) for Black Widow and Scarlett Witch from Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron, it’s certainly not the case with Rey. Her toys are hard to find because they’re selling faster than the Millenium Falcon made the Kessel Run. Whether somebody was either trying to stir the pot, or they just didn’t know that the toys were sold out, I’m not sure, but the demand for her toys far, far out stripped the supply – and that just reinforces the importance of the character.
Indeed, this Tumblr post has a list of the numerous toys featuring the character that have been released (and may even be slightly outdated by now), and so while it is certainly true – for a time – that there were limited toys available for Black Widow and Scarlet Witch, the same cannot accurately be said for Rey. Somebody clearly learned from the outcry over the Age Of Ultron; indeed the same outcry is still happening now, and while it is depressingly easy to make the same assumptions based on recent history, this time there is at least a case to be made that there is an effort to get the Rey toys into the hands of those that want them.
Except the Force Awakens version of Monopoly (you can read more about that, and Hasbro’s response here).
Rey is a character that has the potential to change the way women are looked at in cinema, especially in science fiction action movies. The fact that Daisy Ridley‘s acting chops, and her ability to keep the audience’s attention on her when sharing the screen with some pretty big names, both play a massive part in bringing her character the attention of fans across the globe.
I think that this letter to Hasbro from an eight year old girl says it all (via Radio Times), don’t you?
Also posted on Graphic Policy