Daisy Ridley’s return as Rey is the spark of hope Star Wars’ cinematic future needs

Rey in Star Wars
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

As the embers cool on Star Wars Celebration, the moment that will stick with me lasted only a few seconds. While the galaxy far, far away’s movie output has been something of a sore spot for Lucasfilm over the past few years with several projects fading into development purgatory, Kathleen Kennedy outlined a new plan for three feature films on the twin suns-dotted horizon. 

Among the line-up, Logan’s James Mangold will be tackling an early exploration of the first Jedi, while The Clone Wars helmer Dave Filoni will be heading into the Mando-verse with a movie bringing the Disney Plus shows to a conclusion. But it was the announcement from Ms. Marvel director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy that really blew the roof off the Celebration Stage as she confirmed Daisy Ridley will be returning as Rey in a new movie.

Details are pretty light on the ground on this one so far, but we do know it will take place 15 years after the events of The Rise of Skywalker. We’ll meet with Rey again as a Jedi master attempting to build the New Jedi Order, as well as fighting the powers that rise to tear it down. As teased by Kennedy in an interview with IGN, she’ll have her work cut out for her too as the "Jedi are in disarray" following the fall of the First Order.

Rumors have already started about whether any of the sequel trilogy characters will return, but Rey’s involvement in the story almost inevitably means a continuation of the stories told in the Skywalker Saga (especially given that controversial last name choice in The Rise of Skywalker). For me, this is cause for celebration. While I’ve loved seeing this galaxy expand, it was hard to imagine Star Wars’ future on the big screen without these characters.

No one's ever really gone

Daisy Ridley

(Image credit: Getty Images 2023)

Ask any Star Wars fan where their love for the world began, and they’ll likely tell you a different moment in the Skywalker Saga. I was first introduced to it through the prequel trilogy, with a very exciting visit to see Revenge of the Sith in the cinema as a child. Then I delved back into the original movies with my parents in the comfort of our living room, meeting a bright-eyed Luke and cowering from the evil Darth Vader.

And while some find them divisive, my love of this galaxy far, far away blossomed into a full-grown obsession as I watched the sequel trilogy. Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo have become constant companions to me in the years since as I dip back into those movies far too often whenever I need escapism and a break from life’s stresses. Yes, even those of us who spend our days watching movies have those…

This new movie will gift new audiences an entry point into finding out these legendary stories of heroes and villains – and what better character to teach them this than Rey? Ever since she burst onto the screen as a Jakku scavenger in The Force Awakens, she quickly became my favorite character.

Throughout those movies, I was invested in her story every step of the way. I empathized with her adoration of Han, Luke, and Leia in The Force Awakens; I rooted for her to turn Kylo in The Last Jedi, and I admired her tenacity to face her family’s past in The Rise of Skywalker. I know I’m probably in the minority about this, but I even liked where her story ended, too. While many deride her decision to take on the Skywalker name, her looking out at those twin suns on Tatooine gave me a warm feeling of nostalgia. 

The road ahead

The Rise of Skywalker

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

There’s so much more of her story to explore, too. Across the trilogy, we saw glimpses of the darker side of Rey calling to her, as well as moments where her impenetrable optimism about the future of the Jedi cracked. I hope we’ll see this explored in an older and wiser Rey, who will inevitably still be dealing with the loss of those important to her. 

I’d like to see some of Luke’s cynicism from The Last Jedi when we meet her again as she struggles to deal with reviving the Jedi, as well as some reconciliation with her lineage as Palpatine’s granddaughter. Of course, I hope we’ll also get a lot more of Rey’s epic lightsaber sequences. She set a precedent for how impressive the Jedi women of Star Wars really are, which is a mantle we’re soon to see picked up in Ahsoka.

Lucasfilm only needs to look inward to see how to approach these elements too. The work that Tony Gilroy has done fleshing out the Imperials and exploring what it means to be an anti-hero in Andor is an exemplary point to start. Then there’s the deep pull of the dark side that we saw with Reva in Obi-Wan Kenobi, which showed a glimpse of what Rey might have become if she’d embraced her temptation. 

So, while information is next to nothing on who Rey will be when we see her again, I’ve got a lot of hope about where this new movie will take the Skywalker Saga – and if there’s one thing Star Wars has taught me, it’s that rebellions are built on hope.

For more on the galaxy far, far away, check out the Star Wars timeline as well as all of the new Star Wars movies and TV shows on the way 

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.