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IS REY FROM STAR WARS VII A MARY-SUE?


My immediate reaction is no. No, Rey is not a Mary-Sue. Because a Mary-Sue wraps the story around herself, until the entire story is about her. That does not happen in Episode VII: she certainly is relevant to the plot, but that’s because she’s the protagonist!

But I can see where these folks have a point: there are things about Rey that grate a bit, how she knows how to do so many things in the movie. I would say that she is on the border. But  let’s put her to the test:

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Putting rey to my Mary-Sue test 2.0:

Rey is

More skilled-
She is several times shown to have great skill at several things, particularly, piloting and repairing spaceships. She also is shown to be able to understand droid languages that most people need a translator droid for

More desired-
Different people desire her for different reasons: Discount Vader wants her for the map to Luke, Whatsisname the ex-Stormtrooper is attracted to her, Han Solo sees her as a daughter-figure, etc.

-than any other character.

Subtotal: 4


Subtracting 1 for the scene where she is captured by Discount Vader; he easily subdues her, humiliating her.

Total: 3

Rey’s score:

3 - Borderline.

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But I think there is more to say on the subject.

Rey rescues whatsisname the ex-stormtrooper from the tentacle monster, closing the door on the thing to cut its tentacle: she comes there to him, and he is shouting about the door closing on the thing, and she just says ‘That was lucky!’ No more mention of it is made: a Mary-Sue would take credit for saving him, or(more likely) someone else would give her credit, making that bit about her. But that doesn’t happen.

Episode VII is notable for the many fortuitous coincidences that take place in it: Han and Chewie just happening to find Rey and Whatsisname after they lift off the planet, for example. Many coincidences often happen to Mary-Sues, but the coincidences in Episode VII are not all about her.

The defining characteristic of a Mary-Sue is that everything must be about her. Even though she is the protagonist, not everything is about Rey: we see large parts of the movie’s runtime devoted to the other characters, their interactions, their buildup and development.

In conclusion, while there are specific complaints that can be made about the character, most of those made seem to be little above nit-picking: the character herself I found to be a fine protagonist, and I look forward to seeing her journey continue in the coming films.
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Submitted on
August 17, 2016
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