A Response to Max Landis - Is Rey a Mary Sue?

Recently, Max Landis has been getting a lot of attention claiming that Rey's character is a Mary Sue in The Force Awakens. I am not so sure that he is 100% correct on this.

Editorial Opinion
I am sure many of you have seen this video floating around the internet by now:


Now the term Mary Sue is basically "slapped on a character who is important in the story, possesses unusual physical traits, and has an irrelevantly over-skilled or over-idealized nature."

While Max may be on to something, I think he is very wrong in his assertions. There seems to be a unfortunate assumption that in order to use the force that you HAVE to have X amount of Jedi training. Or you need to have XYZ skills in order to be considered badarse and not a trope.

If Rey is a Mary Sue, in my opinion, Luke is totally a Gary Stu too, just a more developed one (After all he has three movies to be devloped). So was Anakin Skywalker for that matter. While Rey has not had her big defeat yet, she still suffered losses.

Twice she was taken down by Kylo Ren and left unconscious. But I guess Max dont count that as "high stakes" because she didnt get her hand cut off?



Since Max made the comparison to Luke, I think he needs to look at how Luke and Rey are vastly different in respects to their orgin. Rey was forced to survive on Jakku on her own. That entails SAVING HERSELF BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WOULD. This is why she was able to fight of those 2 goons while Finn looked on in the distance. You would have to be crazy to assume that on a planet like Jakku, she never had someone try to take her stuff or steal her portions before. Why do you think she brings that staff everywhere??? To DEFEND HERSELF. We can make the basic assumption that her expierence growing up on Jakku, makes her one tough cookie. Even Han Solo admits this when he gives her the blaster. He KNOWS she can handle herself, and her skills convinces him to offer her a job.

Luke Skywalker on the other hand was a farm boy who probably never saw a fight in his life, nor met any other aliens, like Rey had. Sure you could make the arguement that at some point he may have ran into a Tusken Raider before which is why be knew to bring his rifle. But given his Uncle's expierence with them, I doubt he would let Luke go anywhere close to a Tusken villiage.

The point is that Rey has more skills to bring to the table in her first outing than Luke ever did. Is that unreasonable for her expierience? I dont think so.

Max makes the arguement that Rey someone knows how to pilot the Falcon. If you remember in a New Hope. Luke makes a claim that he could pilot the Falcon too. He makes a throwaway line that he "is not such a bad pilot." and we just take his word for it. We NEVER see him pilot anything except for the X-Wing at the end of the movie. I garuntee you that Luke had NEVER gotten in to a space battle of that scale going up agains the empire. His only expierence is "shooting wamp rats back home". In some of the graphic novels it is explained that the main reason Luke was even allowed to go on the Death Star attack was that his friend Biggs vouched for him, despite Luke dying several times in the flight simulator.

I do not believe there is much of a learning curve in flying different ships in the Star Wars universe, even Anakin Skywalker from Episode I was able to jump into a Naboo fighter and survive a space battle. Qui-Gon asserts that Anakins ability was due to his Jedi reflexes because he was strong in the force. Why can't we give Rey the same credit?



Speaking of the force, Rey has a MUCH MUCH MUCH stronger connection to the force than we have ever seen in any of the films. I suppose that Max does not understand the title of the film, "The Force Awakens". The entire movie is about her realizing she has AMAZING power inside of her.

When Rey touches the lightsaber for the first time, she had a MAJOR vision. Not even Luke or Anakin had such a powerful response to an event. She was able to see things on multiple different planets, involving several different people spanning decades. She also was able to hear the voices of the likes of Obi-Wan and Yoda. (In fact, Obi-wan says "this is your first steps..." the same line he told Luke when Luke was training with the lightsaber against the remote).

Rey's extremely strong connection to the Force is why Kylo Ren was freaked out when she resisted him. Even Snoke was impressed. I don't know how much more clear I can be so I will be very blunt.  REY. HAS. MORE. RAW. POWER. THAN. KYLO REN. DOES.
In fact, I believe that Rey is quite possible stronger than Vader or Luke ever was. She just isn't able to control her power....yet. (Ergo the ending sequence of the film)

But that's the special thing about the Force. She didn't need to control it. She allowed herself to be used as a willing vessel by the force.

In Episode IV Obi-Wan explains this to Luke...

Ben: "Remember a Jedi can feel the force flowing through him."
Luke: "You mean it can control your actions?"
Ben: "Partially, it also obeys your commands."

*Interrupted by Han*
Ben: "I suggest you try it again Luke, but this time let go of your conscious self and act on instinct."


This is EXACTLY what Rey was doing when she fought against Kylo. Unless you completely forgot Kylo STOPPED HIS ATTACK BECAUSE HE WANTED TO SWAY HER (thus showing that if he did want to kill her, he could have). When he mentions that he can show her the ways of the force, Rey has an epiphany. Rey lets go of her conscious self, closes her eyes, the music swells and she allows the force to control her actions.

This is why the Jedi are always saying, "May the Force be with you." Rey's connection with the force was MUCH stronger than Kylo and this is why he was defeated.

While Kylo Ren clearly showed his mastery in using the force (I mean he freaking froze a blaster bolt in mid air), he was conflicted (due to what happened with his father), wounded (he was shot by Chewie's bow caster, which had been blowing away armored stormtroopers the entire movie, so the fact that he didn't die from that shows how strong he is, he also had part of his arm wounded by a lucky strike by Finn) , and his connecton with the force not in balance. Kylo was afraid.

Rey on the other hand, is problably the ONLY person in the entire Star Wars saga that was completely in tune with the Force. Back when she found the lightsaber, Maz explain how the force was calling to her, she just needed to "Let it in". Very similiar to how Obiwan instructed Luke, when he was approaching the target on the Death Star. Kylo Ren was blinded by emotion, rage, and fear which he mistakenly believed would make him stronger with the Darkside. Rey was calm, focused and willing to allow  the force to guide her.



Does this make her more of a Mary Sue? Perhaps, but only if you do not understand the nature of the force. When you are one with the force, when you have such a deep connection with all living things, when you allow your destiny to be controlled, the you are going to exibit abilities and powers that are greater than what anyone has seen before. Is this some sort of Ex Machina? Maybe, but this is how Star Wars has always been written. Targeting computer can't hit the target? Just let the force do all the work.

Rey's ability with the Force has nothing to do with being a female, nor any sort of special training, not her being a Mary Sue. In the 2nd trailer for The Force Awakens we have heard a familiar quote "The Force is strong in my family, my Father had it, I have it,  my sister has it, and now you have that power too." Im pretty sure this is why Rey has her abilities. It runs in the family. (Now I know its not confirmed that Rey is a Skywalker, and this line was not in the movie, but the implicatoins are clear.

I order for Rey to be a Mary Sue, her abilities would have to come out of the blue and contradict her expierence within the story, however, at every turn in the film, it is firmly established that she was able to do what she did because of the force and not because she knows what she is doing.

A perfect example of this is when Rey accidently lets the monsters out on the ship. That is her being inexpierence. She may be tech savy and know enough about ships to rewire a few things, but she is still prone to make mistakes. However when Finn is taken, she uses her instincts (something the force enhances) and closes the doors just in time to save her friend.

While at a distence some of the things Rey does may seem a little Mary Suesque, but when you look at how the Force has been portrayed in the films, and how every thing Rey does in the Force Awakens is consistent with previous parts of the saga, its pretty obvious that she is not a Mary Sue.

I will say that "The Force" may be considered a huge, cop out, but again, that is how Star Wars works. I mean a 9 year old boy, aka the ONLY human to ever pod race, wins one of the biggest races ever was because of the Force. Is PRETTY outlandish, I dont see why people let that slide, but Rey being able to defeat a weakened Kylo Ren because of the Force is suddenly a deal breaker.

If you want to say its just "Bad writing" be my guest, but you cannot say that its not consistant which is what makes Star Wars so interesting.


I apologize for the spelling mistakes and errors. Grammar is not my strong suit.

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