Daisy Ridley is one of the stars of the new film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and on Monday night she (like the rest of us) got to see the epic new trailer for the first time.
Ridley set an alarm to wake up and watch it, then a friend filmed her reaction. She broke down in tears.
She wrote: Staying in a little b’n’b with my friend… Set an alarm to watch the trailer… My friend filmed my reaction. Totally emotional seeing it for the first time and so so so incredibly awed to be part of this incredible legacy #starwars #theforceawakens
Kathleen Kennedy is the unsung hero of the new Star Wars game plan. As the head of Lucasfilm, the production company formerly headed by George Lucas, she oversees how the new trilogy and its offshoots weave together. Knowing that, her comments at a recent event could shed some light on who one of the main characters in The Force Awakens truly is.
At Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington D.C. this past week, the executive spoke about making Rey, played by British actress Daisy Ridley, one of the lead characters in the next Star Wars movie. “Having a balance of men and women in the room changes the story,” she said. “The dialogue, the point of view.”
The larger conversation was rooted in making the Star Wars universe more inclusive. Despite the fact that the series has always had women fans and fans of color, positioning a woman and a black man as the lead characters is a new and — as Kennedy points out — intentional development. Eventually she said, “There’s nothing we’d like more than to find a female director for Star Wars.” When The Guardian asked Kennedy about Rey specifically, she told them the character would be “extremely significant” to the plot, but neglected to explain any further saying, “I don’t want to spoil the story.”
This nugget is fascinating for a few reasons. It allows Kennedy to tie the sentiment to her broader point about making Star Wars for a more diverse audience. But it could also backhandedly verify Rey’s backstory. If Rey is “extremely significant” to the story, as Kennedy says, it means she’s most likely the daughter of either Luke or Leia. Since Luke is a Jedi, and they’re a clergy-like order that takes a vow of celibacy, she’s most likely the progeny of Leia and Han Solo. Not only will we probably see the continuing adventures of the next generations of Skywalkers or Solos for awhile, we’ll also see a more diverse representation of people onscreen. This is truly a forward-thinking galaxy, set a long time ago.
When you're the star of a movie as big as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," there's a lot of pressure to make sure you fit the part perfectly. At just 23 years old, British actress Daisy Ridley is about to go from an unknown to a Hollywood icon with her role as leading lady Rey, and with this role comes a lot of pressure - which is why she said she spent nearly five hours a day preparing for filming.
"[The diet] is lots of fish, legumes and spirulina shakes," Ridley revealed to Elle Magazine in the December issue. She went on to explain that not only was it a strict diet, but three long months of grueling training - five hours a day in the gym five days a week. "It became my solace," she explained. "Because it's the only thing structured in my life right now. Training is sort of a therapy session, I guess."
Rey is such an important character in the film, and with the film's sequel beginning filming soon, she needs to make sure she maintains not only this diet, but the attitude that comes with the part that makes her feel like a role model already. "[Rey is] so strong. She's cool and smart and she can look after herself," she continued to say. "Young girls can look at her and know that they can wear trousers if they want to. That they don't have to show off their bodies."
In a new article highlighting Episode VII, Entertainment Weekly sat down with two of the new stars from The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley (Rey) and John Boyega (Finn) to discuss their characters and what it was like being a part of Star Wars. Namely, the two addressed the diversity of their characters, with director J.J. Abrams weighing in.
“Writing this script with Larry Kasdan, I didn’t know what Rey was going to look like, I didn’t know what Finn or Poe would look like. I just knew that this movie needed to look the way the world looks,” director and co-writer J.J. Abrams tells EW.
The diversity of Ridley and Boyega has been a source of “public discussion,” and, sadly, controversy. Ridley says, “John and I had a conversation last year and we both knew that was how it was going to be. He was going to be the black guy and I was going to be the girl… I think neither of those things could ever be a bad thing.”
Both actress and actor want audiences to connect to their characters, regardless of their gender and race. “What we’ve seen of Rey, she looks like she can handle her stuff… So most of the comments I get are from parents who say how wonderful it is that their little girls can see this character… My main thing is that people connect with her, regardless of gender, color, age,” says Ridley…
In real life, Ridley says, she and Boyega are “like brother and sister – unfortunately for all those people who ‘ship,’ which I never knew was a thing but I guess comes from ‘relationship.’ We get on really well and we make each other laugh. Sadly, people think a guy and girl can’t be friends without something romantic going on.” (Funny, they said the same thing about Luke and Leia once.)
So, Finn and Rey may not look alike, but their commonalities far outweigh their differences. Both are essentially war orphans. He was a child soldier, bred to wear the white armor of a stormtrooper and fight and die, if necessary, on behalf of The First Order. She was abandoned at age 5 on the desert world of Jakku, and has been waiting ever since to be reclaimed. “There was no one really guiding her. She’s never sat around a table and had a meal with someone else,” Ridley says. “She has a boss, she has someone to answer to, she has to trade the junk for food, and that’s how it has to be. She works to feed herself, and she goes to sleep, and she gets up again. It is a sad life.”
There’s always at least one Saturday Night Live sketch every now and then that allows this super talented cast to show off their bevy of celebrity impressions—and last night’s episode was no exception to the rule. The bit opened with a shot of J.J. Abrams, who claimed to be revealing some never-before-seen audition footage from The Force Awakens.
To our delight, not only did we get cameos from stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, but we also saw glimpses of Emma Stone auditioning for Rey (and being willing to poke fun at herself after that whole Aloha backlash) and Jon Hamm, who decided to create his own character specifically for the audition.