When J.J. Abrams relaunched the Star Wars franchise with The Force Awakens, he deliberately chose an actor who was unknown in Hollywood. Abrams was all too aware that big-name actors already come with certain expectations. He didn’t want audiences to see their favorite female star. Instead, as he told Elle Magazine, Abrams wanted “actors whom the audience could discover as these characters, not as actors they’d seen elsewhere.”
She’s hardly an unknown anymore. But Daisy Ridley has always been open about the pressure she associates with the Star Wars franchise. Self-conscious and self-critical, Ridley’s stress actually caused flare-ups of her medical condition, endometriosis. In another interview with Elle Magazine, Ridley reflected that she even had panic attacks during filming of The Force Awakens.
“I’m highly dramatic,” she noted, “So it’s all, ‘Oh, my God!'”
Given that context, it’s no surprise that fans have been unsure how committed Ridley would be to the franchise’s future. As a result, when Rolling Stone got a chance to interview her, that was naturally a topic that came up. Back in 2015, Ridley said she’d be willing to play the part of Rey forever. Now, she’s reconsidered and is looking forward to “inhabiting” as many characters as possible. When the sequel trilogy is over, Ridley plans for her part in the Star Wars franchise to come to an end.
As she explained, “I am really, really excited to do the third thing and round it out, because ultimately, what I was signing on to was three films. So in my head, it’s three films. I think it will feel like the right time to round it out.”
The news is sure to disappoint Star Wars fans. At the beginning of November, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy revealed that the Lucasfilm Story Group were working on “future stories beyond Episode IX, with these new characters; Rey, Finn, Poe.” Whatever Lucasfilm has planned, it looks as though the odds of Ridley signing up for more Star Wars films are slim.
Fundamentally, the issue seems to have been that Ridley didn’t really understand what she was signing up for. The Star Wars saga is one of the most popular and influential franchises of all time. It’s been relaunched to unprecedented success, with The Force Awakens grossing over $900 million at the box office. According to Variety, The Last Jedi is currently tracking for a $200 million opening weekend when the film releases on December 15. It’s set to be the biggest debut of the year, outpacing even Beauty and the Beast’s $174.8 million.
The pressure associated with this kind of role is massive. That said, as Ridley told Rolling Stone, she feels fortunate to have landed the part.
“For me, I didn’t really know what I was signing on to. I hadn’t read the script, but from what I could tell, it was really nice people involved, so I was just like, ‘Awesome.’ Now I think I am even luckier than I knew then, to be part of something that feels so like coming home now.”
It may feel like coming home, but it seems there comes a time when everyone has to move out.