Daisy Ridley’s role in the Star Wars universe isn’t over. Disney announced that The Force Awakens actress will return as Rey “Skywalker” in a sequel to the most recent Star Wars trilogy as the character seeks to bring back the Jedi Order again.
One of three new films announced at Star Wars Celebration 2023 in London on Friday, it will be directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy with a script by Steven Knight. All Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy really said about it was that Rey would be looking for fresh force-sensitive recruits in the formation of a new Jedi Academy. I’m sure nothing will go wrong this time either.
The character of Rey has at times been a lightning rod for controversy in the Star Wars fandom over the course of the troubled Episode VII through IX trilogy, not least of all because she was a woman, a pedestrian factoid that nonetheless drove some self-proclaimed fans into endless internet tizzies.
More recently, The Rise of Skywalker made the bizarre choice to retcon her parentage, switching her backstory from that of a nobody to the weird child clone of Emperor Palpatine, compounding some of the worst lore choices from original creator George Lucas’ own beleaguered prequel movies. Rey’s character has also been an unceasing source of fanfic fascination, with her fraught romance with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren spawning a million Tumblr debates, now simply known as the “Reylo” wars.
This newly announced The Rise of Skywalker sequel also raises some new questions about how Disney will frame this New Jedi Order period in the Star Wars timeline. Director and writer Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi did a lot to try and tear down the existing mystique and hackneyed tropes surrounding the Skywalker family drama, while J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker attempted to bandage them back together. Rey forming a new Jedi Academy just as Luke did certainly feels like business as usual and another soft reboot of the repetitive cycle. But maybe not.
Lucasfilm announced a bunch of other new Star Wars content as well, including two other additional films that will each be set in different parts of the fiction’s timeline. So far none of them have titles or release dates though.