In the expansive universe of “Star Wars,” Daisy Ridley became a household name with her portrayal of the resilient and robust Rey. However, it may surprise many that Daisy Ridley was not the original choice for this iconic character.
Jennifer Lawrence and four other actresses came close to landing the role that would ultimately propel Ridley’s career to new heights in the multi-billion-dollar franchise.
The Casting Process
When J.J. Abrams took the helm of the Star Wars franchise to direct “The Force Awakens,” he faced the daunting task of finding the perfect actress to embody the lead role of Rey, a strong and independent scavenger from the desert planet Jakku. The casting process spanned several months, with Abrams considering numerous talented actresses for the coveted role.
- Jennifer Lawrence:- Jennifer Lawrence, renowned for her exceptional portrayals in “The Hunger Games” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” emerged as a prominent contender to play the character of Rey. Her undeniable charisma and remarkable range made her a formidable candidate to spearhead the fresh Star Wars trilogy. Nevertheless, Lawrence’s prior commitments compelled her to relinquish the role despite her immense talent, allowing another actress to embrace the character.
2. Saoirse Ronan:-Saoirse Ronan, the talented Irish actress acclaimed for her performances in “Atonement” and “Lady Bird,” was also a contender for the role of Rey. With her adeptness at bringing depth and complexity to characters, Ronan presented an intriguing option for the part. However, despite participating in multiple auditions, it was ultimately determined that Ronan didn’t quite embody the essence of Rey’s character, resulting in her omission from the final selection.
3:-Elizabeth Olsen:-Elizabeth Olsen, who gained recognition for her portrayal of Scarlet Witch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was also considered for the role. Olsen’s ability to convey strength and vulnerability made her a compelling choice to tackle the complexities of Rey’s character. However, circumstances surrounding her Marvel commitments prevented her from taking on another massive franchise role, leading to her eventual exclusion.
4:-Shailene Woodley:-Shailene Woodley, recognized for her roles in the “Divergent” series and “The Fault in Our Stars,” was also running for the role of Rey. Given her prior success in leading young adult franchises, Woodley presented a compelling option within the Star Wars universe. However, following a series of auditions, it was concluded that Woodley didn’t fully encompass the specific qualities envisioned by Abrams for the character of Rey, prompting the search to carry on.
The Rise of Daisy Ridley:
After an extensive search, Daisy Ridley emerged as the actress to bring Rey to life. At the time, Ridley was relatively unknown but managed to captivate the casting team with her mesmerizing audition, demonstrating the perfect blend of strength and vulnerability required for the character. Her portrayal of Rey in “The Force Awakens” and subsequent Star Wars films garnered widespread acclaim, solidifying her integral role in the franchise’s success.
Debuting in 2015’s “The Force Awakens” alongside new faces like John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver, Ridley firmly grasped the lightsaber. She continued to embody Rey in 2017’s “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” and 2019’s “The Rise of Skywalker.” Now, she is set to lead a new film within the franchise, taking place after the events of the 2019 film.
For fans eager to relive the Star Wars sequel trilogy, it is available for streaming on Disney+.