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Daisy Ridley's Star Wars Tenure Ended At A Transformative Time

While it has been argued that "Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens" is a remake of "Episode IV – A New Hope," it took on the monumental challenge of breathing new life into a franchise that has been ongoing for over 40 years and has a reputation for a volatile fanbase. Although "Star Wars" fans are passionate, when new additions come out, they're either a huge hit or lobbied by big complaints within an inch of their runtime.

"The Force Awakens" was a divisive movie amongst the fandom. Currently, it's still in the Top 5 of the largest lifetime grosses for a feature-length film. While many fans enjoyed that "The Force Awakens" was a nice balance of new ideas and revisiting what was so beloved about the Original Trilogy, others believed that the film was rehashing a story that's already been told. On the opposite side of that coin, when the Prequel Trilogy originally debuted, they were completely different from the originals and violently hated. Even now, many fans buckle down on hating them.

Daisy Ridley took on the uphill battle of playing Rey, the main Jedi-oriented character of the Sequel Trilogy and the first time any film gave such a role to a female character. Many fans rejoiced, but some claimed she was a Mary Sue. When Ridley's time as Rey ended, not knowing if or when fans would see the character again, the Pandemic hit, making life after "Star Wars" even harder for the young actress.

After the pandemic, Ridley feels like she's on a different career path

During an interview with Rolling Stones, Daisy Ridley was asked what going from three huge movies to a pandemic lockdown was like. Considering Ridley's last major "Star Wars" project, "Rise of Skywalker," came out in December of 2019, there were only a few short months before COVID-19 sent the world into lockdown. Ridley, like many, didn't work through most of 2020 due to the pandemic.

"I'd joined something that was always bigger than I ever was. It's this huge thing that I slotted into, and when it was finished it was a real time of recalibration," Ridley explained. "It wasn't just, oh, I have to say goodbye to all these people I've worked with for years and years, it was also about the schedule and structure and knowing I had a job. And then there was lockdown. And, like so many other people, I was trying to figure out what I was without work."

Ridley described how returning to work after the lockdown was good but also elaborated on her relationship with "Star Wars." Due to the backlash the films and Rey both received, it's easy to imagine Ridley as resentful, but she insisted that "Star Wars" is joyful for her.

"For me it was joy," Ridley described her time with "Star Wars." "Not always — it was difficult — but overall, I loved my experience. I worked with amazing directors and actors that I respect, so it was an amazing beginning of a career. I feel like I'm not having to start over, but it's a different path now."