Though the story is as old as it gets: good versus evil, there is a refreshing new take on the hero’s journey explored in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As the first three Star Wars films gave us the anti-hero in Han Solo’s rough edges, this film took the roles that are constantly given to us: a lead, a sidekick, a victim, a villain, and redefined them, but not in ways that seem cheesy or pandering, but genuine and fitting. The perfect example of this is Rey.
Here are 7 times Rey proved to be #FeministAsFuck:
She seriously took out not one but two muggers.
When we meet Rey, we can tell that she’s capable, but she’s making it work. She’s a scavenger, and her struggle is real. Literally, did we catch that juxtaposition of the big burly creature/fellow smuggler effortlessly dragging it’s haul in the background while Rey is struggling in the background? This is a subtle misdirect that pays off as we see Rey take down the two baddies trying to take BB-8. This is where Finn meets her, poised, and ready to save her. Rey, however, is not only holding her own but owning, period.
Her Badass quote: “I know how to run without you holding my hand.”
There is everything wrong with this scene. Running with someone hand in hand is counterproductive. That’s why Rey’s quote is too perfect. A film as iconic and Star Wars calling out a terrible trope is hella feminist. Not only is Rey letting us know that this gesture is useless, especially if you and your running partner are more than capable. Rey is validating her anti-damsel character and foreshadowing more badassery to come.
Rey is constantly saving Finn
During Rey and Finn’s first encounter, they are both knocked down as they continue to run away from the guys attempting to steal BB-8, but Finn blacks out for a second. Rey gets up first, and as he’s still on the ground, Finn asks her if she’s okay. This is funny. Rey is the one helping Finn up; this is important as Rey proves to be the most competent of the two over and over again. At times, she runs faster than him, she can fly a ship that Finn can’t, she can fix the ship while Finn can’t even identify the tools. It’s a moment in the re-definition of the what a hero looks like. Rey isn’t without fault, however, and Finn isn’t painted as a bumbling sidekick. Though Rey accidentally releases the deadly creatures on board, she’s still able to save Finn. They are both capable and have their talents the plot don’t skip on recognizing.
Rey tells Han that she can handle herself.
As they land on Maz’s planet, Han Solo takes it upon himself to get “these kids” to where they need to be, stepping into a sort of a “patriarch” role. When Han meets Rey and Finn, he is surprised, not impressed, that she is the pilot, and has constant bewilderment in her flight and mechanic skills. Han offers Rey a gun to which she replies “I can handle myself.” Han tells her that’s why he’s giving it to her. It’s a sort of loaded dialogue where you can pinpoint where Rey stops fangirling over the Han Solo to make her own decisions, about the mission, her taking a job with him, all while he gets out of her way.
Rey discovers the force and rescues herself.
Just when all hope seems to be lost, and Rey is tied up after being captured by Kylo Ren with no one to save her. *spoiler alert* Ren saves herself using powers she didn’t even know she had! Some fun tension is built up when her guard denies her when she commands him to undo her restraints, it is all the more satisfying when she finally gets freed, getting herself a weapon in the process. Even Kylo Ren tells his troops that she will grow more powerful as she discovers the Force. Yas, queen.
The light-side, dark-side lightsaber duel that Rey kicked ass in.
When that lightsaber flung itself to the rightful side, after Finn is again laid out, we knew we were about to get into a much-anticipated lightsaber duel between these two personifications of what’s left of the Force. Rey put up a good fight against trained warrior Kylo Ren, after using Kylo’s own tactics against him “You’re scared.” She tells him while he’s trying to read her mind, and while she uses the Force once more while she and Kylo are locked in that cliff-hanger stalemate, you can see it in his eyes that he legitimately is.
Rey is chosen to find Luke Skywalker.
After a long and beautifully composed shot of General Leia and Rey consoling each other after a hard battle, Rey is the one chosen to follow the map and find Luke. She takes Han’s place in the Millennium Falcon, a symbol of the next generation of heroes to come, faithful Chewie still co-piloting. The sweeping panoramic shots of the islands add to the grandeur of Rey climbing the stairs, offering the lightsaber to Luke, and accepting that she will be an essential part in saving the universe.