The summer convention season has presented great opportunities to learn more about The Force Awakens’ leading lady Daisy Ridley. If you missed our San Diego Comic-Con Daisy Ridley Roundup, be sure to check it out. Club Jade’s post-SDCC Twitter Roundup provided more glimpses of Ridley and John Boyega enjoying the convention hall via Dustin Sandoval and Jimmy Boy. One lucky Rey cosplayer shared her experience meeting the actress in person on her Tumblr page.
Lucky for Star Wars fans, Ridley joined director J.J. Abrams and fellow cast-mates Harrison Ford, Lupita Nyong’o, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac at D23 Expo last weekend. (top image via Pete Morrison)
Ridley announced her arrival at the Disney fan spectacular with her new Instagram account. The actress previously had left Twitter during the filming of Episode VII. Of all the social media venues, Instagram might be the best venue for fan outreach in that its strength is sharing rather than conversation, creating a buffer against bullies and trolls. Ridley has already proved she can ham it up, showing excitement for the Drew Struzan D23 exclusive poster and getting her fangirl on with a spin on Star Tours. The cutest is her short video after the Disney Infinity Rey reveal. (Figure image via.)
Ridley isn’t the only one having fun at D23 – so are her fans. (via GameRant)
All joshing aside, Ridley appeared relaxed, poised, and polished in her appearances, as can be seen in Inside the Magic’s videos from the movie and video game panels. How about this clever sidestepping around the Han Solo question from IGN?
It helps to have a fabulous glam team on hair and makeup. The outfits have been on point, too. No doubt we will be seeing more of the up-and-comer, starting with an appearance in September’s Vogue and the September issue of Elle Girl Japan.
Being positioned front and center on a Star Wars film poster is going to raise an actress’s profile. (via Drew Struzan) This is the first time a woman has headlined a franchise movie. While she is the only character of the featured three not holding a lightsaber, Rey straddles the dark and light side of the image. In the Japanese press tour, Kathleen Kennedy bragged on Ridley’s bojitsu skills. The outline of Rey’s staff grip against the sun is reminiscent of a lightsaber hilt, as well. In an era where the butt pose or demure sideways downward looking glance has been used to make female characters appear less assertive and more feminine, Rey’s pose – staring straight ahead, possibly angry, most definitely fierce – should be applauded. Speaking to Movie Weekly, Struzan admitted he had read the script and seen half of the film. About his artwork, the artist says, “I got familiar with the characters, so I know what they’re portraying in their feelings. So I paint the situation and I paint the feelings. Not to tell the story, but to tell you how you’re going to feel when you see the film.”
In the new Entertainment Weekly, which features villain Kylo Ren on the cover, director J.J. Abrams discusses the rollout.
[Abrams] confirmed that the two teaser trailers, the behind-the-scenes footage, and the various images that have been released are clues in a mystery. If you want to solve it, it’s there. If you want to wait, it allows you to look at segments without seeing much of the whole.
Although Rey is the lead, the publicity push of her as the action hero of this movie has been a soft sell in America, as opposed to Japan, where the movie-going audience has long embraced storytelling with female leads. There is almost a sense that Lucasfilm is allowing the piece of the entrenched fandom that will inevitably react negatively to a female lead in Star Wars to maintain their state of denial about what is to come. This tactic also has worked well to deflect speculators, with many of the main speculation sites totally missing neon signs pointing to the peep hole in the Mystery Box. A fan would have to connect the dots between the teasers and behind the scenes reel to realize that it is Rey, and not Han Solo, who is flying the Millennium Falcon over the deserts of Jakku. It’s the bigger picture ideas of emotional themelines that has stumped most speculators. A new leaked image of children’s merchandise offers more clues about Rey and her relationship with the legendary ship. Successful movies this year like Straight Outta Compton and Furious 7 prove that movies don’t need a white male lead to overflow the studio coffers. In fact, The Force Awakens’ chief rival this fall will be the war movie Mockingjay Part 2, which features a notably racially and gender diverse cast with a female lead.
A recent article on Star Wars 7 News suggests Lucasfilm has a four-prong approach to marketing.
- The Legendary Heroes
- The First Order
- Girl Power
- The New Generation Of Heroes
The prominence of Kylo Ren, whose name Ren is actually a title, on the EW cover and upcoming toy packaging, among others, and the featuring of the new stormtroopers since the first teaser trailer has certainly delivered on emphasizing the First Order as the movie’s antagonists. More recently, the South Korean teaser’s extra footage of the First Order base continues the trend of using the Imperial style imagery to market the film. The new hero trio dominated the teaser trailers, while the legacy heroes emerged into a bigger role in the marketing at San Diego Comic-Con and the behind-the-scenes video. What’s still missing, for the most part, is the full-on Girl Power, although there have been glimpses of it in things like the Celebration closing ceremonies video.
Nonetheless, the EW issue makes crystal clear who the movie’s lead character is. The section introduction, for The Force Awakens formatted the same as the other films in the Fall Movie Preview, lists Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, and Daisy Ridley as its top-billed stars. The release schedule in the back highlights John Boyega and Daisy Ridley as the stars. With only Rey’s actress featured in both places, we’re now four months away from our first girl-powered Star Wars movie.
Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and strong female characters. She is one of four authors of Ultimate Star Wars from DK Publishing, has written several feature articles for Star Wars Insider magazine and is a contributor for Her Universe’s Year of the Fangirl. Her FANgirl opinions can be heard on the podcasts Hyperspace Theories and RebelForce Radio Presents Fangirls Going Rogue.
Tricia Barr’s novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library’s successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena’s Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.
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