Posted on

The Female Perspective: The “Mary Sue” Of “Star Wars” (No Serious Spoilers)

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I want to start by saying that I am going to do my best to not put any spoilers in here about the new Star Wars movie because I hate dirty rotten spoilers. If you prefer to know nothing about the movie though, don’t read this yet!

Daisy Ridley plays the character Rey in the new "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"
Daisy Ridley plays the character Rey in the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

That being said, I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens this past weekend and simply adored it. Now that I’ve seen the movie I can start reading the millions of articles about it that have popped up. One trend that is annoying the ever loving heck out of me is the people calling one of the new character, Rey, a “Mary Sue”.

In case you are wondering:

Mary Sue or, in case of a male, Gary Stu or Marty Stu is an idealized fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through extraordinary abilities. Often but not necessarily this character is recognized as an author insert and/or wish-fulfillment. –Wikipedia

I actually didn’t know the full definition and I also didn’t know that Mary Sue’s could also be male characters so I learned something new today and it actually annoys me more because if Rey is a Mary Sue, why isn’t Luke or Han Solo?

Regarding the character of Rey in Star Wars: TFA though, to call her a Mary Sue is to insult a strong, capable female character. It’s not, in fact, the first time the Star Wars Universe has had a strong female character. Have we forgotten Princess Leia???? Or even after her, Padme Amidala, the mother of Luke and Leia? What is all this surprise that a woman who lives in the Star Wars Universe is not only  smart, but capable as well? Why can’t we just accept that and move on?

Strong characters are par for the course in "Star Wars" and I for one am thrilled about it.
Strong characters are par for the course in “Star Wars” and I for one am thrilled about it.

Oh, that’s right, because we live in a patriarchal society that cannot possibly accept a female character as smart, strong and able to get sh&t done alongside her male compatriots. As I said above, you can have a male Mary Sue as well but I don’t believe I have ever heard that term applied to a male character. It’s a clear sexism that a woman who is capable can’t be real but a capable man is totally believable. How annoying!

This kind of pseudo internet anger is infinitely frustrating to behold. The fact is, the new (all of them) characters add depth and dimension to the universe many of us love but beyond that, the Star Wars franchise has always been about the next generation overcoming the rules of the current generation. The original Star Wars starts off with Luke Skywalker, the son of Vader and we follow him and Leia and Solo through their various adventures. Even in the newer films, it is about the rise of Vader and the destruction of the older generation. That’s the whole thing that Star Wars does, it shows us that the wheel of time moves on and the younger kids are eventually going to inherit the mess the previous generation left behind.

could-there-be-truth-to-this-rumor-about-daisy-ridley-s-character-rey-in-star-wars-episod-484712

The fact is, the internet is a hotbed of angry trolls typing forcefully and looking for stuff to criticize. Rey is strong, she is smart and she one of my favorite characters in the entire Star Wars world because she was written well, she was created as a full person and not some damsel in distress at the first sign of trouble. She has her moment, and who can blame her, when she becomes overwhelmed with the weight of what is before her but instead of descending into tears and woe is me, she fights and she kicks butt. If that’s a Mary Sue, than I’m all for that kind of character being in every film.

leiaposter

What did you think of the new Star Wars? Who was your favorite character and did you think Rey was “too” capable? Sound off in the comments!

Leave a Reply