Ridley: Calling Star Wars Character ‘Mary Sue’ Sexist

By October 28, 2016


She has the power of the Force, the ability to be in the right place at the right time, and can even fix the Millennium Falcon on the fly … literally.

Rey is many things when it comes to Star Wars. But don’t you dare call her a “Mary Sue,” because you won’t have to worry about facing the Dark Side – you’ll have to contend with actress Daisy Ridley.

One of the stars of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ridley sees Rey as a strong character that isn’t hampered by her gender. So when anyone uses that derogatory term for that “too perfect” character who somehow always saves the day, the actress told MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast (courtesy of Entertainment Weekly) that she’s not going to take it.

The Mary Sue thing in itself is sexist because it’s the name of a woman. Everyone was saying that Luke had the exact same [capabilities]. I think Rey is incredibly vulnerable, and nothing she’s doing is for the greater good. She’s jus 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.”

Ridley has been promoting her documentary The Eagle Huntress where a young girl from Kazakhstan throws gender roles out the window so she can join the man’s world of eagle hunting. Rey is in a bit of a similar situation: mechanic, warrior, savior – those are roles Hollywood in the past have traditionally reserved for men. And when women break through those barriers, they aren’t treated as heroes, but instead are given names like “Mary Sue.”

The term actually comes from old Star Trek fan-fiction, according to researcher Joan Marie Verba when writer Paula Smith parodied “perfect” characters with Lt. Mary Sue in 1973. Although there does seem to be a term for male versions of such characters called a “Marty Stu,” it’s nowhere near as common as the “Mary Sue” usage.

Ridley is back for a new installment of Star Wars to follow The Force Awakens after filming wrapped earlier this year. That film, written and directed by Looper‘s Rian Johnson, hits theaters in December 2017.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.
  • Jay Sirois

    But she is, though! Also, the origin of Mary Sue is from a Star Trek fanfic starring an OC of the same name. I bet she’s not aware that the male counterpart of a Mary Sue is Gary Stu.

  • Jay Sirois

    But she is, though! What? You expect me to believe she can fly the Falcon better than Lando and Han, and fight better than Luke, with no training whatsoever? Yeah, sorry. Not buying it.