(Note, possible Star Wars Episode VII SPOILERS below...)
When news broke last week that Daisy Ridley - Star Wars Episode VII's mysterious 'unknown' cast member - would be starring in all three films of the new trilogy, many of us were...unsurprised.
After all, we'd pretty much assumed that she'd probably be in all three, seeing as she was featured in that already near-iconic cast read picture:
The thing is, though, once that news started to settle in, it began to take on a slightly different - and more substantial - feel. Why, for instance, would Ridley's presence in all three films be revealed if she wasn't going to be some sort of main character? For many, her placement in that cast read above (smack in the middle of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher) started to take on a greater level of importance - hinting, perhaps, at the role as their daughter that was rumored at the time of its original release.
And then, a few days ago, Adam Driver gave an interview to Entertainment Weekly. In it, he largely continued the cast's usual stony silence when it comes to plot details - except, that is, for one or two intriguing hints...
"The thing about Star Wars that’s so good—sure there’s this huge [canvas]. It’s space, it’s a long time ago in a galaxy far away. That’s set up immediately. But in the midst of all those things, what has made those movies last so long is that they’re all grounded, which is something that is not so far off from every movie with huge universal themes of siblings and parents and betrayal and trust. That’s so generic and obvious, but it’s hard to balance those things."
"When you break all of those things down, really it’s just because someone wasn’t loved enough or felt betrayed. That’s what makes those movies so universal. I think they can get in your mind in big and sweeping ways."
Which, on the surface, comes across as Adam Driver being about as big a Star Wars geek as we all are - which is great, and all - but there's something else there too.
He's absolutely right that Star Wars has always been full of "huge universal themes of siblings and parents and betrayal and trust", but it's also full of a whole lot more than that - Han Solo's narrative arc has far more to do with identity, love and duty than to family. In fact, it's really only Luke, Leia and Anakin's stories that are closely tied to to those themes - the Skywalkers being the only characters who are ever really explored as a family, and as the emotional core of the saga so far.
Now, my first instinct was "oh my god, he's playing Jacen Solo" - of which more later - but that's a pretty big reach to make from one quote. What it does suggest, though, is that the "themes of siblings and parents and betrayal and trust" are still very much alive and well in Episode VII's script.
And what does that suggest?
Which, in turn, just might mean something else, too:
Daisy Ridley is (Probably) Playing Han and Leia's Daughter.
Take a look at what we know so far:
- Ridley's been confirmed to be in all three films.
- She's sat between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher in an image designed to be analyzed by everyone for hours on end.
- The themes of family, parents and siblings are almost certainly alive and well in the new script.
All of which is a long way from enough evidence to get a conviction in a court of law - but it's a heckuva lot when it comes to piecing together a plot for a film that's still a year and a half away.
It also carries the weight of a whole lot of precedent in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
Now, of course, the whole EU has been summarily dismissed by Lucasfilm, meaning pretty much nothing from it counts as 'official' Star Wars content any more. The thing is, though, that there's a few parts of it that the movies are inevitably going to have to address. After all, the bulk of the novels that followed on from the original trilogy are preoccupied with both the geo-political situation in the galaxy after the Empire's fall, and the family situations of Luke, Leia and Han.
Which is inevitably what the new trilogy will be concerned with too. After all, the six films to date have all been focused on the Skywalker clan, and there's no reason to believe that'll stop any time soon. Especially as J.J. Abrams is almost as preoccupied with parenthood and family relations in his film-making as Steven Spielberg.
Which means some variation of Jaina Solo, Han and Leia's daughter in the EU, is pretty darned likely to show up - and what with Abram's repeatedly expressed desire to cast unknowns in the main parts (and Ridley being one of the only real 'unknowns' who could plausibly play a Skywalker) it seems likely to be Daisy Ridley.
And, if so, she's almost certainly the key to the whole trilogy - just like her uncle and grandfather before her.
What about Driver, though, who's obviously preoccupied enough with the themes of "siblings and parents and betrayal and trust" to be talking about them in an interview?
Well, Jaina Solo's brother in the EU, Jacen, ends up transforming from an accomplished Jedi warrior to a mass-murdering Sith lord - which is probably not going to happen in the upcoming trilogy.
But some variation on it?
That's a whole different ball game.
After all, there have been so many, often contradictory, rumors coming out about the plot of Episode VII that it's difficult not to assume that they're all either intentional misinformation from the studio, or made up entirely.
So that persistent rumor that Driver's playing a villain? Well, that could be nonsense.
Or it could be just the beginning.
[Star Wars: Episode VII](movie:711158) is set for release December 18, 2015 - and honestly could not feel further away if it tried.
What do you guys think? Will Daisy Ridley's character be the key to the whole trilogy?