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Who Plays Rey in ‘Star Wars?’ Answered

Extreme close-up of Rey from Star Wars, played by Daisy Ridley, partially obscuring her face with her lightsaber hilt

Daisy Ridley became known to international audiences in 2015 when she first appeared in the role of Rey in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy. Ridley appeared in a feature for the first time in 2012—the horror film Scrawl, about a comic book drawing that comes to life, made by Peter Hearn and his students at Andover College. Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens was only her second role in a feature film.

In an interview with Elle Magazine, Ridley describes her characterization of Rey: “She’s so strong. She’s cool and smart and she can look after herself.” She adds that “Young girls can look at her and know that they can wear trousers if they want to. That they don’t have to show off their bodies.”

A wide shot of Rey from Star Wars, played by Daisy Ridley, standing in the hollow of a tree

Daisy Ridley grew up in London with her parents and four older sisters. In 2010, she graduated from the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts with a concentration in musical theater. She also attended Birkbeck University to study classical civilizations but dropped out to pursue her acting career instead. She moved quickly from being cast in a commercial for a grocery store to small roles in episodes of television series like the comedy Youngers, the hospital drama Casualty, and the period drama Mr Selfridge.

In 2013, when casting for The Force Awakens began in London, Ridley recalls: “I heard all sorts of famous people were being seen for it. But then a friend got an audition, so I knew they were interested in an unknown. I immediately got this weird feeling all over my body. I knew I had to be seen for it.” She auditioned five times before director J.J. Abrams chose—out of thousands of other performers from around the world—to cast Ridley for the role of Rey.

A close up of Rey from Star Wars, played by Daisy Ridley, holding her yellow-bladed light saber

Throughout the course of the Sequel Trilogy, the lonesome scavenger girl from Jakku—the Force-sensitive “Rey from Nowhere” as Luke Skywalker once referred to her—has been revealed to be the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine. In Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, Kylo Ren explains to Rey that he and she form a Force dyad: “My mother was the daughter of Vader. Your father was the son of the Emperor. What Palpatine doesn’t know is we’re a dyad in the Force, Rey. Two that are one.” Although she began her life as a descendent of the Palpatine lineage, Rey ultimately chooses the light side of the Force and adopts the family name Skywalker.

(Featured image: Lucasfilm)

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Aria Baci is a pop culture critic and comic book script writer who is as passionate about intersectional feminism as she is about science fiction. Her writing has appeared in Design*Sponge, Geeks OUT, and the Mine! comics anthology.