Daisy Ridley reveals the piece of advice she received from Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams when she signed on for the lead role of Rey in the hotly-anticipated film. Lucasfilm’s big screen renaissance of the galaxy far, far away is in full swing, with The Last Jedi just a couple of months away from hitting theaters. Of course, this new era of Star Wars on film got started with the release of Episode VII, which pinned its hopes and dreams not on the returning veterans Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, but a new generation of characters to be portrayed by John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, and Ridley.
As we now know, Rey is the main protagonist of the sequel trilogy, making her role arguably the most important in the series. The pressure of headlining the newest Star Wars trilogy would be a daunting proposition for anybody, particularly Ridley, who made The Force Awakens her feature film debut. Fortunately for her, she was going to be under the guidance of a lifelong franchise fan in Abrams, who could not stress the magnitude of the undertaking enough to the young actress.
In an interview with Vogue, Ridley discussed a conversation she had with Abrams shortly after being cast in Episode VII, where her director informed her that she was not walking into an ordinary situation:
“Understand the scale. This is not a role in a movie. This is a religion for people. It changes things on a level that is inconceivable… You don’t know what you’re getting into.”
At the time of this talk, Ridley “nodded enthusiastically,” sweetly naive to the whole thing, but things may have sunk in later when production started. One of the most famous stories to emerge from the Force Awakens set was Abrams telling Ridley she was wooden on day one, which was a key turning point for the film. If audiences didn’t buy into her portrayal of Rey, Episode VII and the entire sequel trilogy would have been derailed. Fortunately, Ridley proved to be the best choice for the part, delivering a star-making turn that won over the hearts of fans everywhere. In the immediate aftermath of The Force Awakens‘ massive success, Rey became one of the most popular characters in the saga, and after being in this game for a few years now, Ridley most definitely understands how passionate people are about Star Wars.
The actress was able to parlay her newfound fame into starring roles in major non-Star Wars projects such as Murder on the Orient Express and Chaos Walking, but soon she’ll be going back to the faraway galaxy with Abrams once again at her side. After parting ways with Colin Trevorrow on Episode IX due to creative differences, the studio brought Abrams back to call the shots on the finale, reuniting him with several of the actors he picked to start this trilogy. Given that the performances of the ensemble were some of the most-praised aspects of The Force Awakens, it’s safe to say Abrams and company will be able to deliver something truly special when Star Wars 9 opens in 2019. After all, they’ve been through this together once before.
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