It was one of the final reveals at Star Wars Celebration 2023 on Friday. To me, it was the biggest. During the conclusion of the Lucasfilm panel – which covered everything from Ahsoka and The Acolyte to Skeleton Crew – Kathleen Kennedy’s attention shifted away from the streaming shows available with your Disney+ subscription and revealed three film projects that would be covering Star Wars’s past, present and future. You can read greater details about all of those projects, but the one that got me most excited will come from Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, and will take place 15 years after the last events of the Skywalker Saga, and the movie, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.
And Daisy Ridley will reprise her role as Rey, rebuilding the New Jedi Order and fending off the powers that rise to tear it down.
Daisy Ridley’s return to the warm embrace of the Star Wars community looked like this:
Daisy Ridley returns to Star Wars#StarWars #StarWarsCelebration pic.twitter.com/kXzqwf9FQIApril 7, 2023
And I, for one, couldn’t be happier for the actress. I literally felt as happy as she looked on stage in front of the appreciative crowd gathered at Star Wars Celebration 2023. Rey’s story needed to continue.
The Sequel trilogy, which began with Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, was an uneven affair. I think fans can all agree that J.J. Abrams kicked the new storyline off with a bang, leaving a number of interesting questions that we assumed would be answered in The Last Jedi. And they were… kind of. Rian Johnson took a different approach to Star Wars mythology, almost begging fans to obliterate the past so that Star Wars could move forward, more freely. Everyone has the potential to be a Jedi. It’s not JUST the Skywalker lineage.
Except, The Rise of Skywalker raced right back to making Rey a descendent of a familiar character in Emperor Palpatine. It was a big old yikes, and it meant that Daisy Ridley had to dance around like a kite in a hurricane trying to placate the versions of Rey that were presented in the scripts. The franchise appeared to have no clue what to do with Rey, and she was arguably the central most important character in the new trilogy. She got shortchanged. She deserved another chance.
Carrying on this storyline makes sense in the grand scheme, as well. By the end of The Rise of Skywalker, Rey had rejected her birthright and adopted the name Skywalker. Remember how this scene went?
So there’s justification for Rey to embrace the methods that Luke once used, and that Yoda used before him, to restore the Jedi order, find and train young Jedi as part of a new Jedi Academy, and live up to the Skywalker name. She claimed it. In the upcoming movie, I assume she will earn it.
Personally, I just loved Daisy Ridley in the role, and I never believed that she got the best material to support Rey as a new leading character. The Force Awakens was a terrific introduction to this exciting hero, and Ridley brought an exuberance that the franchisee needed. (Bring back the terrific John Boyega, as well.) But I never thought the trilogy properly gelled for her, and I think the news that she is returning was the highlight of Star Wars Celebration 2023.
We’ll track news on when this movie might be happening, and add it to our growing list of upcoming Star Wars movies, so keep an eye on that feature.