Rey is a bit of a “problematic” figure in the new Star Wars movie with everyone from Feminists to Mens Rights Activists putting her forward as their figure head for what is right and or wrong with the world.
Beloved Liked Known writers are being sent death threats over their opinion of her. Now I didn’t see Star Wars when it came out thus I thought I’d give writing about it a pass. I’m not one for living in the past. But I’m seeing her a lot today and I thought I’d give my own two cents on future jedi current mary-sue protagonist Rey from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’.
First off so I can sum this up, avoid wasting your time and you can leap right to the comments section and shout at me; is Rey a Mary-Sue? The answer is yes.
See a lot of people seem to be comparing her to Luke Skywalker. There’s a good reason for this. Young orphan living on a desert planet orbiting a star that’s about as far from the bright centre to the universe as you can get. They both find a cute plucky droid carrying information vital to the continued survival of the Republic. They jump planet on the Millennium Falcon and there learn from their wise old mentor figure who will………………Wait sorry we’re talking about Rey not Force Awakens here. Any who. They both apparently have great potential in the force and Luke will go on to harness this energy by the end of the first film to blow up a planet destroying super weapon under the control of a bad guy in black with a family connection to our main hero’s, wait sorry Rey, got it.
The problem is that while everyone remembers the whole “Use the Force Luke” bit from the Death Star trench run everybody seems to be forgetting the bits before that where Biggs, at the time one of the best pilots the rebellion has, calls Luke the best bush pilot in the Outer Rim Territories. Also while some of the pilots call the shot required to blow said Death Star “impossible even for a computer” Luke claims that he and his friends used to bulls-eye womp-rats in their T-16 back home and they ain’t much bigger than two metres.
Is Luke aided here by the force, of course he is. Is hitting some rats the same as an attack on a fully armed Imperial base while fighters battle all around you. No. But it shows that there was some training there, some pre-existing talent.
Something we don’t get from Rey who claims to have never flown a ship before but is now flying the Falcon better than Han Solo ever did and using a lightsaber to beat someone we know has trained under a Jedi Master himself. While her own training is at best theoretical at this point.
The thing is this cheapens the character somewhat and leaves her few places to go in the sequel.
In the original trilogy Luke is impressed when Ben clouds the mind of a storm trooper and later taps into the Force to boost his own talents through the help of coaching from Ben. In the follow up he receives actual Jedi training, goes to face the “Dark Lord of the Sith” and gets his bottom handed to him.
It is only by the third movie that Luke is able to cloud minds himself and hold his own against Darth Vader and that makes it all the more triumphant as we have watched this whiny little farm boy grow. We remember how impressed he was with Ben and so to see him now able to do that himself shows development.
Rey meanwhile, *spoilers*, without any training is able to tap into the force, cloud storm trooper minds, resist Sith torture and defeat a trained combatant in one on one light saber combat.
Now that she’s getting training from Luke himself she will theoretically be even better still and thus any argument you may have about Ben Solo being injured during that fight is negated.
Compare this to Finn. He has never seen combat either, never shot a gun or been in the field. He struggles to shoot stuff down, twice, and then gets beaten twice in one on one melee combat. When and or if he returns in the sequel think how cool it will be, having seen that; to see him shoot down a tie fighter in the opening few minutes like it’s no big deal. Think how cool it will be to see him just stand his ground in melee combat showing, us the audience, that he has grown. That he has been training that he is better than before.
Does this mean you shouldn’t like her or feel bad for doing so? No, she’s better written, better acted and all around more likeable as a person that Anakin managed in three movies and two actors.
Does this mean I didn’t like the movie? No again the plot was tighter and more consistent than anything the prequels managed and the light sabre fights were back to emotional, character driven scenes that meant something rather than over choreographed dance numbers where we swapped out one bad guy for another
action figure character in the sequel.
Does the mean it’s bad to enjoy watching a mary-sue? No, we’ve all done it at some time or another especially in the nerd industry as we’ve imagined what it would be like to be a super sauve, super spy or well prepped, gadget wielding super hero rolling in the dough or an unstoppable Canadian killing machine and all of these and others at some time or another have been written as a mary-sue. We’ve enjoyed them then and we’ve enjoyed them since when a decent writer has been at the helm. Let’s hope Rey gets that decent writer she deserves.