Last year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens broke all kinds of box office records when it hit theaters, ultimately breaking $2 billion in ticket sales, securing its spot as the third highest grossing film of all time, behind Titanic and Avatar. More than that, the film itself actually delivered on a promise to return to its former glory of the original trilogy. Was it as good as those films? That’s still debatable by some. But there’s no denying it was quite the step up from the prequels.
Additionally, the flick was notable for its female lead, Rey. As great as the original trilogy was, there were only a few women in them, and a minute and twenty-four seconds of dialogue from women who aren’t Princess Leia. In today’s modern world, it made sense to rectify that problem, and provide a strong female lead in the latest trilogy. But there are some who think that perhaps the film went too far.
Screenwriter Max Landis was one of the more vocal ones out there who claimed that Rey was a Mary Sue.
According to Wikipedia, a Mary Sue is:
“...An idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through unrealistic abilities. Often this character is recognized as an author insert or wish-fulfillment.”
Looking at that definition, I can definitely see Landis’ point. Simply put, Rey is unrealistically talented. She’s strong, and practically flawless in many respects. What’s more, she was able to defeat Kylo Ren — a guy who’s been trained in the Force by the likes of Supreme Leader Snoke. How could she kick so much ass with almost no training?
I'd like to think that the answer to that question lies in future installments of the film, but whether or not she's actually a Mary Sue...that's up for debate -- a debate that actress Daisy Ridley seemed more than happy to have.
While on the MTV News podcast, Ridley addressed these claims of Rey being a Mary Sue:
“The Mary Sue thing in itself is sexist because it’s the name of a woman. Everyone was saying that Luke had the exact same [capabilities]. I think Rey is incredibly 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.”
This is an understandable response from Ridley. She’s an actress after all, so she’s literally coming from Rey’s perspective when thinking about this. To me, the fact remains that she’s a bit too talented for me to completely buy the character. Do I enjoy Rey in the film? Absolutely. But all the same, I can understand criticisms that she has no flaws, and even I have to admit that Luke wasn’t nearly as skilled Rey was in The Force Awakens. All that aside, I do have to wonder if this would have been brought up as an issue at all if Rey’s character had indeed been a male. I guess we’ll never know.
What do you think? Do you buy Ridley’s comments, or do you side with Max Landis on this one? Let us know in the comments down below!