I am a Screen Junkie, i.e., I watch a lot of programming brought to you by Screen Junkies. And I love listening to others talk about film and television and all-around modern nerd and geek ethos. It’s fun and gives me something to listen to while I am laying out books.
I was listening to the recent episode of SJU (Screen Junkies Universe) with Max Landis who has recently been under fire in the Twitterverse for calling Rey a Mary Sue. In this episode he argues that the characters Abrams presents in the new Star Wars film were thin and he challenges people to state why they like Rey.
So, instead of just listening I figured I would state my reasons why I like Rey. And just so you know, there will be Star Wars Force Awakens Spoilers. So, stop reading now if you have yet to see the film.
S P O I L E R S B E L O W
Why I Like Rey
I am first introduced to Rey on the planet of Jakku, which we learn later that she was left on at the age of five, and she has since been a scavenger of a planet littered with leftovers from a previous galactic battle. She scavenges every day in broken-down ships on a harsh desert planet hoping to trade these goods for bread. She is resilient. She is independent. She is fierce. And while she may be lonely, she doesn’t feel sorry for herself.
She saves BB-8 from being killed for parts. She is street-smart and not afraid to get involved when an innocent person is in danger. She has a chance to sell BB-8 for a large amount of food but instead decides to protect him. Already I see that she has good character who cares for others and is willing to sacrifice her own needs for someone else, especially for a droid she doesn’t know. That says a lot about a person.
Later when she runs into Fin and he grabs her hand, she is quick to reject the role of damsel in distress. She has obviously taken care of herself for quite a long time and doesn’t need anyone else to help her. Although as the story progresses she learns that she doesn’t have to fight alone. She does have friends and I think this is an important arc and a lesson we all need to learn.
She initially rejects her destiny of being a powerful Jedi. She is afraid. She wants to go back to Jakku because she is hoping to find her parents again – she is looking to belong somewhere. Aren’t we all?
And when she learns that she indeed has the force and goes head-to-head with Kylo Ren she doesn’t back down. She kicks some ass. And it was exciting to see that she never wavered from the Light side of the force. From the get-go you see that she is powerful, and once she realizes she has the Force, she completely accepts this new identity and it’s exciting to watch!
The movie ends with her finding someone else who was lost as she was once, and these two characters, I am supposing, are going to find themselves together in the next film.
Her journey was the crux of the Force Awakens and I really enjoyed watching her begin as an isolated person who was waiting to then becoming a person accepting her position in history and then fiercely going after it with force (pun intended).