If you've followed along with my articles (thank you!), you're probably fairly aware that whoever Daisy Ridley is playing in [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](movie:711158) will be one of, if not the lead of the new trilogy. She's the one cast member we've heard the most about, but also one of the handful that has the shortest of IMDB listings. Last week, fans finally got their first look at the "new trio" in action, with Ridley taking off across the desert toward the infamous TMZ set.
But for the sake of keeping everything in one place, here's a rundown of everything we know about Daisy Ridley's role in The Force Awakens so far. I've done by best to put together the concept art, the speculation, and the leaks - as well as a comparison to her possible inspirations from the Expanded Universe.
As per usual, don't read on if you don't want spoilers!
Here's everything that believe to be on the more substantial side, all pieced together:
She's Working as a Junker on an Outer Rim Planet
There's debate over which planet she's on, but most fans believe it to be either Tatooine or Lothal (the planet that's being heavily featured in [Star Wars Rebels](series:965946)), since both of them are known desert planets on the Outer Rim within the current Star Wars canon. Though a return to Tatooine is practically tradition in Star Wars films, I have a feeling that we may well see Lothal, as it stands as a pretty strong Imperial stronghold in Rebels, and apparently Ridley's character collects old relics from the galactic and clone wars. What better place to do that than a previously occupied Imperial planet?
According to these possible spoilers (and these), she's hanging out with Max Von Sydow's character, and the both of them camp out near an abandoned AT-AT. In one iteration of these plot spoilers, she's Han and Leia's daughter, but is currently keeping her identity as secret to the people she meets so as to avoid trouble. She's left her parents to go on a very specific mission, which we'll explore below.
She Discovers a Lightsaber
She seems to have an interest in the Jedi, and is collecting artifacts in order to try and track down the only known Jedi Knight, Luke Skywalker. One of these artifacts is Luke's original lightsaber (formerly Anakin's second lightsaber) which he loses in Empire Strikes Back. In the Expanded Universe, this lightsaber continues to be passed down throughout the Skywalker line - and in concept art, this seems to be the lightsaber that Ridley carries.
In fact, the really weird rumor that revolves around a "lightsaber, floating through space, with a severed hand attached" parallels the discovery of Luke Skywalker's lightsaber in Cloud City that's described in the Expanded Universe. Except, in the EU, it's eventually returned to Darth Vader, who gives it to the Emperor, before it ends up in the hands of a lunatic Dark Jedi Clone and is taken back by Luke, who gives it to Mara Jade, who - gosh, it's just a really long story.
These instances also parallel another element of the EU: The story of Ania Solo, an Outer Rim junker descended from Han and Leia (their great-great granddaughter) who encounters the lightsaber of an Imperial defect while scavenging. We're not going to see direct stories from the Expanded Universe, but seeing familiar elements in the film would be great for long-time fans and still not confusing for the younger, or newer crowds.
She Saves John Boyega (and Oscar Isaac?)
One thing that's been repeated throughout several spoilers is that Daisy Ridley (many are simply calling her "Kira", her on-set codename and possible in-world character name) encounters John Boyega's character, a former Stormtrooper who has defected from the Empire and is on the run. The two go on a mission to learn more about the lightsaber that Ridley finds, and the "awakening" in the Force.
According to rumors, both of them are force-sensitive, and after some kind of pulse rings out through the force, they both feel it. There have previously been no details on how Kira comes across Boyega's character, but according to this post from Brandon Rhea of the Star Wars Fan Wiki, the situation will be action-packed.
After defecting, Boyega is found and captured by the Imperials, who are searching for a Jedi artifact (presumably that lightsaber). There, he meets a captured rebel pilot (Oscar Isaac), and the two form an unlikely team to try and break out.
But according to MakingStarWars:
Apparently “Kira” spies the abhorrent attack on the village by the Imperials with their flamethrowers. She is also aware, as we had heard, that Boyega’s character objects to burning innocent villagers ... I spoke to a source about the info about to hit and it was alluded to that in classic Star Wars style, the boys are saved by the girl.
Her outfits change, but in a practical way
This could simply be different phases of concept art, but it seems as though Kira, much like her predecessors, has a decent wardrobe. It's not fancy - she's a junker, people - but Kira has quite a few different looks throughout the concept art that seem to work with each environment she's in.
Either way, according to Spoiler Man, we won't see Ridley in "any revealing outfits" in Episode VII. (Good!)
She's Got Multiple Vehicles
Along with the giant magnum-bar-speeder that we see her riding in the trailer, tons of concept art has been found that depicts a ship docked in Ridley's hideout. The ship has four engines in the rear, but doesn't seem like it's made for actual space travel. She's likely salvaged a lot of these parts, and seems to know quite a lot about constructing ships. Check out her ship's concepts below.
The Villain has an Eye Out for Her
From the way things are looking, Kira herself enters the villain's lair before any of her counterparts, coming face to face with this new, unknown enemy. The confrontation seems like it occurs within the caves Michael Skellig Island, but the scene above and the scene below may very well be two completely different instances. I, for one, think that what we see above is Ridley's first encounter with Luke Skywalker; down below, the artwork shows a much more metallic interior, in contrast to the cave we see her entering up there.
Either way, things don't seem to go too well. Here, we see Kira (looking very much like Leia) in the villain's grasp, staring blankly ahead. Is this an attempt to bring our new heroine to the Dark Side?
Daisy Ridley is signed on for all three films
One last detail here: Daisy Ridley is the only cast member that is currently known to be signed on for all three films in the upcoming trilogy. If it weren't already apparent that she's one of the core characters of the trilogy, if not the next Luke Skywalker, this is probably our best clue.
The buzz around the young actress is huge, yet she's definitely one of the lesser known actresses on the cast. This seems to be the norm, though: with Mark Hammil and Hayden Christiansen, both actors were fairly young and didn't yet have a very long roster of film under their belts. 20-something year old Ridley is better known on the BBC for a few one-shot TV roles, but not by much. Still, her previous roles have all been both entertaining and lively, and with a face to match Natalie Portman's almost directly, it's beginning seem more telling than ever that Ridley is being lined up to take on the Skywalker role.
Regardless of the rumors, this young actress is here to stay, and the only mysteries as big as her role in the film are that behind her complete absence on the internet. While John Boyega and other cast members delight in sharing photos and interacting with fans, it seems that Ridley's agency has removed her twitter, instagram and other social media accounts from the internet. Time will tell what we'll see from our new heroine, but until then, I'm pretty happy with what's been said so far.