In the wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ highly anticipated release, there were those who found the film fun and zippy and good, those who had their issues with it, and those who seemed determined to dislike it for all of the ways in which it was not a carbon copy of their childhoods. It’s in the latter camp that a certain strain of criticism emerged, accusing the film of making Daisy Ridley’s Rey a “Mary Sue.” For those who live in the more pleasant waters of the internet, a Mary Sue is a character who is unrealistically competent or perfect. Rey earned the label primarily for being too good with the Force too quickly, although many fans were quick to point out the sexist roots of such an assignation, especially given Luke’s skill in the original trilogy. Now, Ridley is weighing in on the discussion around her character, questioning the fundamental sexism of the Mary Sue mantle.
Appearing on MTV News’s Happy Sad Confused Podcast, Ridley explained that she found the Mary Sue accusations “confus[ing].” Of hearing the criticisms, she said: “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.” Ridley brought up how “everyone was saying that Luke had the exact same [capabilities],” and she also took issue with the entire notion of a Mary Sue, noting that it’s an inherently gendered objection: “The Mary Sue thing in itself is sexist because it’s the name of a woman.” Now, while the segment of fanboys behind the Mary Sue accusations probably won’t be sated by Ridley’s answer, let them at least be comforted by the oncoming scrutiny of Rogue One and its own brand-new female protagonist.