Is Rey practically perfect in every way? According to Star Wars star Daisy Ridley, Rey lacks weakness because the actress says she doesn’t “really believe in weaknesses in people.”
On March 9, Daisy Ridley participated in a live Q&A on Facebook. When a fan asked her is her Star Wars character Rey’s biggest weakness was her focus on her parents, Ridley responded like this:
“I do not think that is a weakness. Great question, but I don’t think that is a weakness. I think longing for something, there’s usually a reason you’re longing for it. Even though she’s very hopeful about moving forward, there’s clearly some stuff that she needs to put to bed and that is all going to help her, moving forward. So I don’t think that’s a weakness. I think it’s a wonderful…again, sort of adds to the brilliant hopefulness that, what may have happened wasn’t so bad. Like, that she wasn’t just left there by these awful people. And, also, it leads her on this amazing journey.
Obviously, the concept that Rey lacks any weakness is tricky both semantically and thematically. When The Force Awakens was released in 2015, sexist attacks against the character insinuated that Rey was a “mary sue” meaning she was a character who was excellent at everything, despite the audience not knowing why. Obviously, this “logic” forgets that Luke Skywalker was exactly the same way in the classic movies.
Still, saying Rey lacks weaknesses isn’t exactly the same thing as saying she’s a “mary sue.” After the latest comments from Ridley, writers at both Forbes and ComicBook.com have pointed out that Rey does have weaknesses, just not in the sense that Ridley was talking about. In other words, if characters in any work of fiction don’t have flaws, they have little to overcome.
However, this all comes down to how different fans will interpret Ridley’s comments. Saying Rey doesn’t have “weaknesses” isn’t the same as saying she’s perfect. If one takes Ridley’s comments in context, along with her statement that she doesn’t “believe in weaknesses in people,” then the debate is really one of opinion. Ridley defines Rey’s issues with her parents as part of her character’s journey, that opens her up to amazing things. Others might call those personality traits “flaws” or “weaknesses” but agree that good things come of them.
Either way, The Last Jedi was a huge moment for women’s roles and stories in the Star Wars galaxy. And the future of those stories, including Rey’s, is still in motion. Late last year, despite being misquoted, Ridley said she would play Rey again, even after the conclusion of Episode IX.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out on digital download tomorrow.