Daisy Ridley recently spoke on a podcast about the fan response to Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker and social media’s role in the Star Wars fandom.
Daisy Ridley has been nothing short of a great role model for the Star Wars community. Since her casting was announced in early 2014, the now 28-year-old has been poised, calm, and collected with regards to being the lead in one of the largest franchises to date.
With all that being said, now that the sequel trilogy and the Skywalker is all wrapped up, Ridley has a few things to say in reference to the fan response to The Rise of Skywalker.
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Ridley appeared on DragCast, a podcast hosted by RuPaul’s Nina West, this past Friday, and it didn’t take long for the conversation to turn the subject towards a galaxy far, far away.
"West: When you were cast[ed]…JJ Abrams said something to you along the lines of understanding what you were stepping into was more than just a role in a film, it was part of a religion. How has this changed your life in that way? Knowing that your fandom is fantastic and wonderful and awful all the time.Ridley: It’s changed film by film honestly, like 98% it’s so amazing, this last film it was really tricky. January was not that nice. It was weird, I felt like all of this love that we’d sort of been shown the first time around, I was like ‘Where’s the love gone?’ I watched the documentary, the making-of, this week, and it’s so filled with love; and I think it’s that tricky thing of when you’re part of something that is so filled with love and then people…You know, everyone’s entitled to not like something but it feels like it’s changed slightly. I think in general that’s because social media and what have you."
Criticism has certainly been at the forefront of the Star Wars fandom long before the dawn of social media. But the amount and heftiness to the negative impact has only skyrocketed since the release of Episode VII. While The Force Awakens wasn’t as polarizing as Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, both received their fair share of hate. But with The Rise of Skywalker, Ridley seemed to have a special connection with the Abrams’ saga-ender.
This isn’t the first time Daisy has been open about either a fan response or even her own criticisms of a particular of the sequel trilogy. Before the release of The Last Jedi, Ridley had already rejected the notion of wanting to be seen as Rey forever, simply saying “no” to the idea. She also voiced her concern with The Last Jedi script after the film’s release.
Social media has also been a hot topic in regards to Ridley, as she, along with Rose Tico actress Kelly Marie Tran, deleted their Instagram accounts the summer following the release of Episode VIII. Daisy Ridley went on to speak about social media’s impact on movies and the Star Wars fandom.
"West: If the culture has shifted because of social media, they [fans] think they have creative sway?Ridley: I think in general people share so much on social media. If I went to a film and didn’t like it, I just wouldn’t tweet about it. But it’s such a conversation and it always has been. I guess now conversations are just more public, so there’s stuff I wouldn’t have seen, but honestly trying to scroll through my news feed in January and trying not to see Star Wars stuff, I’d see headlines and be like ‘Oh my god this is so upsetting.’ It’s been tricky but then it’s having that thing of I feel really proud of it, and I’m so thrilled to be part of it. But it’s a funny thing."
With a fandom like Star Wars, it’s nearly impossible to avoid any sort of negative perception with such a highly anticipated film that wraps up a saga four decades in the making. But with the amount of effort, time and love poured into this trilogy by both the cast and creators, it’s understandable to be frustrated when the public doesn’t share that same love.
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker can now be purchased on many streaming sites, as well as plenty of behind-the-scenes material to fill your time during this weird season of life.