Daisy Ridley has signed contracts for all three of the new Star Wars sequels, signifying that she’s got a significant role. I’m not sure that’s news, really, since she was the only female actor alongside Carrie Fisher at the first script read-through. That alone says she’s a key player.
Here’s what I’m hoping for her character- that she will be our hero, not just the hero’s spunky sister or love-interest or ally. I love Princess Leia, but she wasn’t the hero. Her character growth is minimal, and she’s repeatedly the one who must be saved (once in an ogle-worthy metal bikini). Padme is likewise spunky, resourceful, and totally not the point of the film. But with the new films, Daisy Ridley’s character could actually be the hero, pathing through the classic hero’s journey, having the major character transformation, facing the abyss and coming back changed. Katniss has already paved the way here, Disney. There’s a market for a female-hero.
But while that’s what I hope, my expectations are far more conservative. I expect that she will play a character in the Leia/Padme vein. That she will be bad-ass in her own way, likely one of the key allies of the hero, and that there will be some sort of romantic entanglement that she’s a part of.
However, J.J. Abrams has had a female hero in his work before, although all were television shows – Fringe, Alias, and Felicity. He might go that route. One fan pointed out that if the prequels were male-focused, and the original trilogy was twins-centered, than it would make perfect sense for the third trilogy to be female-centered. We shall see.