As evidenced by her arc in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley’s Rey is the main focus of the sequel trilogy, emerging as the next Jedi-in-training that will try to save the galaxy. The character is already very adept with the Force, demonstrating a number of abilities in Episode VII as she took her first step into a larger world. This included besting a wounded Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel, tapping into powers that she has only begun to realize.
Rey’s journey will continue in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII, where she will seemingly train under the guidance of Luke Skywalker. As was the case with Force Awakens, Ridley has to ensure she is in peak physical shape so she’s prepared for the action sequences. Her co-star John Boyega said months ago that his role in Episode VIII is more physical than it was before, and the same could probably be said about Rey. Even though principal photography has been going for more than two months (as of this writing), the actress is still carving out time to workout.
Ridley shared a short video on her Facebook page of what looks to be lightsaber training. Holding a baton in place of the sword, she twirls it around a few times before performing an apparent parry to block an unseen opponent. For fun, she ends the session with a jump move. Ridley took the opportunity to thank the Star Wars 8 stunt team, expressing gratitude for all the help they’ve provided throughout the process.
Given that the clip runs for only 15 seconds, it’s difficult to tell if this is just a general exercise Ridley is doing or rehearsal for an actual fight sequence she’ll have in the new film. If it’s the latter, it would represent something of a shift for director Rian Johnson’s take on the franchise. The lightsaber duels in Force Awakens were reminiscent of the ones in the original trilogy, featuring raw, largely unsophisticated combat. What Ridley’s showing off in her video is similar to the styles highlighted in the prequels, where the battles were more choreographed as George Lucas demonstrated Jedi Knights in their prime. Rey is already strong with the Force, so it wouldn’t be surprising if she improved after learning techniques from Luke.
At the same token, it’s best not to read too much into Ridley’s training. A rumored costume description for Rey in Episode VIII indicates that she still carries the blaster Han Solo gave her in Force Awakens, suggesting she’s still not comfortable with the lightsaber as her only means of defense. That could change depending on what happens in Star Wars 8, but it is something to keep in mind. After all, as part of her Force Awakens training, Ridley did some kickboxing and Rey did not do that in the final film. This could just be part of her routine as she gets ready for a physically demanding role.
While it can’t be confirmed now, it is safe to assume that Rey will be wielding a lightsaber at some point in Episode VIII, most likely in a rematch with Kylo Ren. As long as that hypothetical fight is character-driven like it was in Force Awakens, moviegoers most likely won’t care how the two are handling their weapons. It’s always cool to watch two Force users go at it in a duel, but Star Wars history has proven those sequences can be so much more than an outlet for flashy stunts and visual effects. Since so many people are raving about Johnson’s screenplay, it’s safe to say that tradition will continue – regardless of what styles Rey and Kylo use.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Daisy Ridley