Seen or not seen it, there’s no escaping the power of
the dark side Star Wars. The Force Awakens predictably took in more money than Han Solo borrowed from Jabba the Hutt, and got a record number of us to go to the cinema (or avoid the internet until we could get there, because spoilers). But for the first time in the franchise’s history, we had a female lead, in the form of Rey, played by Daisy Ridley. For the majority this was a cause for celebration and a huge social win, but was this casting choice just a sign of the times, and did it actually contribute to Star Wars’ success? idobi staff weigh in, but before you go any further, beware:
I think the cast shows the progress of society as a whole, but it’s not delivered without its flaws. There’s a problem with doll sets excluding the female lead in favor of other less vital characters. (Or so I’ve heard, I have yet to see the movie.)
– Emillie Marvel
The doll sets are actually completely missing Rey outside the Disney store. Legos include her as well. It’s the toy company though. They’ve done this with other female action leads. I honestly think the female lead contributed majorly to the success because it changes the story. Had it been another male lead, it would have been almost the same story again. Having a female lead changes the way the story is told. While the romantic love component is possible, it’s not a prominent storyline like it is for Anakin or Leia, or even Luke before he knew Leia and him were twins. The most implication of a “romance” really is when Han tells Finn “women always know”. The story is much more about Rey’s, Kylo’s, and Ben’s individual journeys intertwining whereas Anakin’s entire reason for going the dark side was romantic love. That being said, I want her to be a Kenobi and will depressed if it doesn’t happen.
– Shelby Chargin
I think it’s still got a long way to go, but it’s a step in the right direction, and was definitely an encouraging thing for me when I went to see it. Hopefully it was for other people too. (But I’m still annoyed that Carrie Fisher was credited after Mark Hamill. I mean, what the hell is up with that?)
– Alex Bear
I’m not sure if a female lead and diverse cast caused the success of the movie… the success was bound to happen, but it was definitely a breath of fresh air. Seeing a female lead whose storyline did not center around her gender was uplifting and long overdue, especially in such a large franchise.
– Tess Reynolds
I love the fact that JJ Abrams like strong female leads, but what’s most interesting is that it didn’t fall into the trope of a man coming to rescue a woman, because even though she gets kidnapped, and men came to rescue her, she escaped by herself without waiting for Finn or Han.
– Tom Cheney
As someone who avoided any and all spoilers beyond the initial trailer, I was thrilled to see that episode VII had a female lead and that the cast was so diverse. The fact that Rey didn’t fall into the damsel in distress cliche was refreshing. I think it’ll make strides in the film industry. That being said, I don’t think it was the cause of the movie’s success, and I’m not so sure it broadens the appeal. This isn’t a brand new idea that’s going into theaters trying to target a specific audience. The Star Wars series already appeals to kids who watch the animated series, adults who grew up with the original trilogy, and the ages in between whose parents made us watch the originals before going to see the prequels. Because it’s the 7th installment in a series, I don’t think it’s a movie that’s going to pull very many new fans. Anyone who wasn’t already interested in the idea of it probably didn’t feel a need to go see it. It’s like watching the last Harry Potter without ever having seen or read the first 6. Star Wars had a massive audience, and after this film I would expect it to grow as people get word and watch the originals to prepare, but I don’t think this film specifically will draw the broader audience. One last note on that, like I said before I didn’t look at anything before the release of the movie, but from what I’ve heard people say, they mislead the audience a lot (not in a bad way, but in a way to surprise viewers when they got in the theater); there were pictures of Finn holding a lightsaber and people were expecting the movie to be about him, and for him to be the Jedi. As far as anticipation goes, it seems like Rey’s character was kept secret until the film was released.
– Jenna Cafora
—Tags: Star Wars, The Force Awakens, What We Think