Thursday, May 1, 2014

Is Daisy Ridley Jaina Solo?

Left: Jaina Solo; Right: Daisy Ridley
Ever since the announcement of the Star Wars: Episode VII cast on Tuesday, I just can't stop thinking about it.  While they answered the most pressing question fans had, as to whether or not the original trilogy cast members would return, in traditional J.J. Abrams fashion, more questions were raised by not detailing the names of the new characters in the film, creating fan speculation all over the internet.  No other casting announcement in the new film has created more speculation than that of 21-year-old British newcomer, Daisy Ridley.  A relative unknown with only a few British television credits to her name and an upcoming horror film, Ridley has become an overnight sensation, with very few people having really seen any of her work yet.  Ever since the other day, I have been doing my due diligence, reading other people's theories and researching the new cast, and I think I might have learned who Daisy Ridley is playing, the daughter of Han and Leia.

I know the other day I seemed unsure about who Ridley was playing, even assuming that she stole the role from Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, pretty much nixing the idea that she was Han and Leia's daughter in my mind.  However, there was an article the other day stating that Ridley was the first new cast member added way back in February, before the alleged talks between Abrams and Nyong'o occurred.  So the rumors of Nyong'o's potential involvement, as well as that of fellow British unknown, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, are still possible, because then I thought about it.  About a month ago, Disney announced that the new film would follow a new heroic trio.  What if this role that Sellers and Nyong'o are being considered for is the third wheel to this trio?  I think it is, especially after reports just yesterday citing that there is still one major role left uncast in the film, and I believe it is the final member of this new heroic trio, which having two of them being girls, and then two of them being black, makes this the most diverse Star Wars cast ever.  Of course, all of this finally allowed my mind to start thinking that Daisy Ridley's character is Han and Leia's daughter.

Ridley at the Table Read between Ford & Fisher
Now, I am not the first person to have come up with this idea, as a matter of fact, this wasn't the first thing that even crossed my mind, but then I began to read other people's theories that she was Han and Leia's daughter, and they all made a whole lot of sense.  First off, many online noted that in the photo of the cast at the script read through, Ridley is seated right between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.  While that may seem a touch inconsequential, one thing I know about J.J. Abrams is that he loves creating misdirection and mysteries, and he seems just like the kind of guy who would do something this subtle to mess with the minds of fans.  Secondly, there is enough of a resemblance in Ridley to both Ford and Fisher, especially with her being brunette, making it believable that she could be their daughter.  All of this to say, after reading so many of these theories, it all started to click in my own brain, and now I, like so many others, believe that Daisy Ridley is playing Han and Leia's daughter, which actually jives with a lot of the initial rumors I ever heard about Episode VII.

About a year ago, I was hearing from many Star Wars fansites that the main, Luke Skywalker-type character of this new trilogy would be a young woman.  Of course, this got fans thinking way back then that the filmmakers were adapting the character of Jaina Solo, Han and Leia's daughter from the now erased Expanded Universe of books and comic books, for the bigscreen.  Now, while I am not sure Ridley's character will be Jaina Solo, or simply an inspired by daughter of Han and Leia that has a different name, I am almost 99.9% sure that she is going to be the most pivotal role of this new trilgoy and that she is Han and Leia's daughter.  Why do I think she'll be the most pivotal role?  Because of the fact that she was the first new cast member signed.  Why was this the role that Abrams and company felt had to be cast first?  Perhaps, because it is the lead.  You need a good hero, or in this case, heroine, that audiences can fall in love with and identify with, before you can start adding color to the world around them.  Now, the real question is not if Ridley is or isn't the daughter of Han and Leia, but rather, is she ace pilot and Jedi Knight, Jaina Solo?

After the news last Friday that the only things that are considered Star Wars canon are the six films and The Clone Wars TV show, it cast a lot of doubts in the minds of fans as to whether or not they'd ever see fan favorite characters like Jaina Solo realized, but there is a high likelihood that Ridley may be Jaina.  What makes me think that there is still hope for her being Jaina, is the fact that Lucasfilm reiterated last Friday that while all of the countless books, comics, and video games, of the now alternate Expanded Universe are no longer canon, they may still serve as inspiration for future characters and worlds in the new official canon involving the new films -- much as to how The Clone Wars indoctrinated EU favorites like the Night Sisters and Quinlan Vos into official canon.  If this same approach is applied, then I find it entirely logical that Daisy Ridley is Jaina Solo.  Of course, the biggest monkey wrench in this theory is that Jaina is such a known commodity already that any changes might anger fans.

Here's the thing, if Daisy Ridley is Jaina, fans will already think they know what happens to her in this film, and if the filmmakers don't do exactly as the now non-canon books did with her character, then they'll be upset.  It's a no-win situation for J.J. Abrams and the rest of the cast and crew.  No matter how likable and cool they make the character, if J.J. and company deviate from the non-canon source material with the character, fans will be upset.  However, if J.J. and company are forced into sticking with as much of the non-canon books as possible in order to not peeve fans, then they're shackled down to what they can and cannot do with these new films.  As I said, it is a no-win situation, which is why I think it is more likely that Ridley is an inspired by version of Jaina that is still Han and Leia's daughter, just named something else.  Of course, if Ridley is Jaina Solo, the other big question would be where is her twin brother, Jacen?  An equally important character in the now non-existent Expanded Universe.  Well, I have a theory for that too, and prepare, cause it's a doozy.

L: Adam Driver; R: Jacen Solo
I think, if Ridley does turn out to be Jaina Solo, then Adam Driver will be playing Jacen.  Now, I know it has been reported that Driver will be playing the villain of this new trilogy, and you may be saying, but how can Han and Leia's son be the bad guy, but in the now non-canon stories, Jacen turned to the dark side and had to be killed by Jaina.  This actually jives with the initial report that Driver would not really be the primary villain until the second and third films in the new trilogy, leading me to think that he'll start Episode VII, perhaps as a good character who falls into the dark side.  However, my theory, if this all pans out, is that they wont kill Jacen off.  We have never seen a Sith live to transform back into a Jedi.  What if the end game of this potential Jacen and Jaina story is to not have Jaina kill her twin brother, but have her lead him back to the side of the Light?  This is all me being hypothetical and spouting off theories, but I think that would be an incredibly cool storyline.

Irregardless as to who Driver is playing in this film, I think Ridley is for sure Han and Leia's daughter.  While I can always be wrong, I think the chances are exceptionally good that Daisy Ridley will at least be an inspired by version of Jaina Solo.  Till anything else is further revealed, all we can do is wait and see.

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