While we pretty much always knew that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would bring back the likes of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, we’re more fascinated by the names that caught us off guard when the cast was first announced. John Boyega turned heads in the suburban sci-fi thriller Attack the Block. Girls co-star Adam Driver will reunite with his Inside Llewyn Davis cohort Oscar Isaac for a mission in a galaxy far, far away. And Max von Sydow’s presence in the celebrated cast photo was the most welcome bombshell we could hope to receive. There is one actor in the ensemble, however, who we really don’t know much about.
Who is Daisy Ridley? She was occupying a couch with Harrison Ford at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens table read, but what did she appear in before landing this coveted gig? Who is she playing in the film? What’s her future with the legendary science-fiction franchise? We answer all of those questions and more in the following guide!
Her BackgroundBorn in Westminster, London in April of 1992, Daisy Ridley actually came into this world with acting in her blood. Her great-uncle was William Arnold Ridley – a playwright and performer who most notably scripted the play The Ghost Train and starred on the long-running BBC sitcom Dad’s Army.
Not much is public about her upbringing, though she attended the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire, and graduated from the program in 2010. It was only a few years later that she started getting professional acting gigs.
Her Television WorkAccording to her IMDb page, Daisy Ridley’s first credit came filming a short for a phone app called Lifesaver (in which the user has to make lifesaving decisions), but it was that same year – 2013 – that she landed her first television role. In an episode of the long-running medical drama Casualty - titled "And The Walls Come Tumbling Down" - the actress played Fran Bedingfield, and old school friend of series lead Robyn Miller (Amanda Henderson). This, however, was a one-shot appearance.
Later that same year, Daisy Ridley joined two other television shows - albeit with more of a comedic bent. In an episode of the show Youngers titled "A to B and the Apology," she played a student named Jessie, and she appeared as a stage hand in the Toast of London episode "Vanity Project."
The actresses work on the small screen continued right up until her Star Wars casting, and also just after it. A few months before the big blockbuster announcement, Ridley appeared in a two-part episode of the British crime show Silent Witness ("Fraternity"). In it, she played Hannah Kennedy, the best friend of a teenager who was discovered murdered and left in an open grave. Her only appearance since being added to the Star Wars cast is in a second season episode of Mr. Selfridge - where she played a young woman named Roxy.
Her Film WorkFun fact about Daisy Ridley: when she appears on screen for the first time in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it will be her first ever appearance in a feature film. As we just went over, her career to this point has been spent primarily on television – so the big, legendary blockbuster will be a huge move for her career in significant ways.
While the young actress hasn’t done any feature work before, she has starred in a short. In 2013 directors Georgina Higgis and Lee Jones cast her in the lead of their sci-fi thriller Blue Season. In it, Ridley plays a young woman named Sarah who wakes up to find herself hanging upside down and seemingly trapped. While screaming for help, she discovers a ringing phone, and learns instructions from the other side of the line that will seemingly lead to her escape. Of course, whether or not this person can actually be trusted is a big question.
You can actually watch Blue Season in its entirety below:
In case it’s unclear, there’s a very good reason why you have never heard of Daisy Ridley outside of a Star Wars context: we’ve yet to really see her in anything notable. That changes very soon.