Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced a lot of new characters to the space opera franchise, but of this group, Daisy Ridley's Rey has arguably cemented her role as the main protagonist. Like Luke Skywalker in the Original Trilogy and Anakin Skywalker in the Prequel Trilogy, moviegoers are watching her learn the ways of the Force, though it remains to be seen if she'll ultimately follow in Luke's steps and remain a force for good (pun intended) or turn to the dark side like Anakin did. In any case, had the seventh live action Star Wars movie proceeded differently, we wouldn't know Ridley's character as Rey, but as someone named Keera. Here's what Ridley had to say about what director J.J. Abrams initially told her about this heroine:
No, no, he told me it was meant to be Keera. And then, when we were already shooting in Abu Dhabi, he told me that he was thinking of going with Rey, which I thought was frickin' awesome. But because I had to audition so much and everything, I never really had a conversation with J.J. about it until I had read the script.
This Keera revelation actually lines up with a rumor that emerged in late 2014, a little over a year before Episode VII was set to hit theaters. At the time, this report claimed that a character named "Kira" would confront one of the movie's antagonists, and that this "Kira" would spend the movie searching for Luke Skywalker in the hopes that he can vanquish the new "evil" that threaten the galaxy far, far away, only to learn that Luke himself is this "evil." Now that The Force Awakens has come and gone, we know that the information concerning evil Luke was inaccurate, as the Jedi Master only directly appeared in the last minute of the movie. "Kira", on the other hand, was at least somewhere in the realm of truth earlier in development, different spelling aside.
Daisy Ridley talked about Rey's previous identity while catching up with costar Adam Driver, a.k.a. the man who plays Kylo Ren, in V Magazine. The actress went on to talk about how strange it was joining Star Wars: The Force Awakens, both because this was her first movie and how quickly things were progressing. As she put it:
So, I had no sense of what I was getting into. No sense of what was really going to happen or what anything would entail. I hadn't done a film before, so it was a whole new thing. It's such a crazy thing the first time around: Even if [J.J. and I] had had a conversation about it, nothing would've even made sense at that point anyway. It was unfolding as we went along.
Since Star Wars: The Force Awakens' release, Daisy Ridley has jumped on to projects like Murder on the Orient Express, Peter Rabbit and Chaos Walking. Her time as Rey, however, is far from over. We're roughly a month and a half away from the former Jakku denizen taking the next step of her journey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and she's expected to remain a major player in 2019's Episode IX.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released in theaters on December 15. For release date information concerning the rest of the year's remaining blockbusters, look through our 2017 premiere guide.