While J.J. Abrams is known as a filmmaker with vision and a strong ability to construct stories, he is also well regarded as a collaborative director. Obviously he has final say, and doesn’t incorporate input that totally clashes with his bigger ideas, but he keeps an open mind when it comes to listening to his cast and crew.
It’s an element of his style that was much appreciated by Daisy Ridley in the making of both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, as she was able to feel respected on set despite her lack of blockbuster experience going into the projects. In fact, she even had the confidence to veto a particular idea for Rey in the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga – an element of the story that was proposed but ultimately dismissed and not included in the final cut of the new movie.
Perhaps because it is something that is intrinsically connected to one of the secrets being maintained by Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, Daisy Ridley couldn’t precisely tell me exactly what it was that she said “No” to, but just the fact that she did is a fascinating piece of information that fans will surely speculate about even after everyone in the world has seen the new film.
The subject came up during the interview with Daisy Ridley because of my curiosity surrounding her expressed authority over Rey as a character. Going into the making of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, she had more experience with the role on her resume than J.J. Abrams, given that Rian Johnson was at the helm of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and I inquired if that permitted a certain extra assertiveness in her.
Ridley responded in the affirmative, but added that it wasn’t exactly a novel experience when it came to her time working with J.J. Abrams. She explained,
I will say the great thing about J.J. Is I've felt authority like that from the get go. Even me never having done anything remotely like that before. He always listened to what I had to say, even if for the most part it's wrong.
This openness to input included J.J. Abrams getting Daisy Ridley’s thoughts and opinions on the developments of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker before it was even in the scripting stage – which is what created the circumstances that led her to vote against one of the proposed ideas that the filmmaker had for Rey in the new film:
Going into this one, there was only one thing that he pitched me before the script was written that I said, 'No, it can't be.' I can't say [what it was] yet, but I'm sure we'll talk about it next year, because it was just something that went from the... it was just like, 'Nah,' But we didn't do that, which was a great thing.
The interview with Daisy Ridley was conducted the day after she actually had her first opportunity to watch Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, so that last bit of opinion makes us even more excited to learn more about the rejected notion.
Whatever it was, it seems pretty clear that Daisy Ridley had absolutely no interest in seeing it pursued in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, but she concluded her thoughts noting that most things weren’t quite so cut and dry. Rather than just maintaining a personal strict vision of everything concerning Rey, Abrams had conversations with the actress that resulted in changes, and those changes were part of daily production life. Said Ridley,
For the most part, it's always a conversation; always. And I would not learn lines until the day because everything was changing so much anyway. We would try things and do different lines and whatever it was so it always felt new, and like everyone was really involved in the collaborative process.
It goes without saying that the conclusion of Rey’s arc in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is one of our most anticipated aspects of the film, and we are now so incredibly close to getting answers to all of our burning questions. Co-starring John Boyega, Adam Driver, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Billy Dee Williams, Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran, Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill the epic conclusion to the Skywalker Saga will arrive in theaters everywhere this Friday, December 20th.