A female Jedi? We all thought this day would never come.
For those of you who haven’t seen The Force Awakens yet, apologies for that massive spoiler.
The character is played by Daisy Ridley, who some of you may recognise from Mr. Selfridge. She is set to play the character for the following two films.
One thing I thought while watching The Force Awakens…. It’s nice to see a character who can hold her own.
However with cinema being the way it is, audiences are generally subjected to females unable to hold their own. They are generally oversexualised, reliant, air headed beings. So for the new instalment of Star Wars to offer a female who defies these code and conventions to a certain extent is rather refreshing.
Sure, there are certain elements that have stuck to traditional representations- it is Hollywood after all, it wouldn’t be successful if they broke all of the rules.
Nevertheless, it is successful, super successful in fact.
Before watching this film, I was trying to avoid any spoilers that came my way. Thus, when it came to the protagonist being revealed to me, I was pleasantly surprised.
‘Rey’ is conveyed as a strong individual with a misty past. Audiences are first introduced to the character as she is scavenging through an old abandoned space ship in order to support herself. It was nice to see that she was on a solo venture, and not supported by a mass of flouncy characters that offer no real advantage to the film.
There are many hazy assumptions about Rey’s past, and nothing conclusive is offered up in the first instalment. One recent theory that has surfaced is the shadow theory. Some of you may have seen the image of Darth Vader in Luke’s shadow in the earlier films, well now; some super attentive people have noticed a similar tactic in Rey’s shadow. However, we will have to wait and see if this is a hint to her past or just an over imaginative fabrication.
She is accompanied by the cute droid BB-8 throughout the film, it offers us an element of the traditional female role that we expect to see in a Disney created production. As an audience member this is rather endearing; especially when she refuses to sell the droid for food rations. It shows that she has a soft side too.
It’s nice to have a strong female protagonist in such a traditional epic franchise. Especially with the added pressure of existing audience receptions who may or may not have more traditional values of what a hero should be.
Of course there are ways that I would have like to have changed the character to an extent, but that’s just how it works.
With a progression in positive audience reception to leading females in comparison to the other six instalments, they could have pushed the boundaries a little further, make her a bolder individual. It’s got to be said; while all in all absolutely wonderful to have a leading female... she does embody many traditional aspects of a traditional male protagonist. For example- she’s young, attractive, white, determined and leading an independent lifestyle. This is not to say that this is a negative thing. It’s just a safe option, which will accommodate for success. Nevertheless, Rey still provides a solid character in the franchise.
Her character seems to envelope elements of, leadership, strength and power without being presented as an overly aggressive character or reliant on a male counterpart. This is particularly nice to see as it seems to defy the norms of a female protagonist. With elements of comedy they have really turned Rey into a loveable character.
All in all, Rey offers us a strong individual and a modern age protagonist that helps to reflect how the franchise has developed. Now we can wait excitedly and expectantly for the next instalment.
Thank you for reading,