IS REY A MARY SUE?
When the Force Awakens came out, one of the biggest complaints was that Rey came across as a “Mary Sue.” A Mary Sue is a character that is without flaw. They are overpowered and have no weaknesses. I will admit I was one of those who said Rey was overpowered, but I hedged my criticism by saying it depends on what they do with her in the next movie. Let’s face it. This is a girl that had zero Jedi training. With no training, she mind controls a stormtrooper (guess 007 is weak minded now) and beat a force user that had years of training under two of the most powerful force users we know, Luke and Snoke.
Defining Rey: the Mary Sue
As the book and other materials came out we discovered a bit more depth into how she was able to accomplish all this. Marie Antoinette, on the television show Dr Who, stated “A door once opened can be stepped through in either direction.” This is what took place in the interrogation chamber. Kylo recklessly pushed his way into Rey’s mind, thinking there was no danger. The problem for him is that Rey pushes back. Rey gets into Kylo’s mind and reads his fears. Rey now knows mind control is possible. Even the fact that she was able to push back at all indicates she has great power.
Is Kylo Ren really that tough?
In the lightsaber fight at the end of the movie, its easy to ask how could she possibly stand up to Kylo. First off, as was proven earlier in the movie, Rey is no slouch in a fight. She beats back the thugs that jumped her rather handily. Also let us not forget that at this point, Kylo has taken a blaster bolt to the abdomen from a bowcaster that had so far been obliterating everything it hits and sending troopers flying! Kylo merely takes a knee when hit. Also when he was toying around with Finn, Kylo grew arrogant and this allowed Finn to actually strike a solid blow.
One more factor remains that I think is very important. She remembers Maz’s words and does something it took Luke some time to learn. Kylo nearly has Rey beat. Rey relaxes into the force and draws on its power. This makes her stronger and the force can also guide her actions and make up for some of the swordsmanship she lacks. The early scenes of Empire Strikes Back, Luke is still having issues with this as he really has to focus to be able to call his lightsaber to him from 8′ away.
Does Rey Deserve Mary Sue Status?
At this point I do not think Rey deserves to be called a Mary Sue. She had the right set of skills and a natural ability to trust the force and let it flow through her.
In fact that seems to be Rey’s greatest strength. This ability to let herself go into the force gives her an advantage an experience others take years to learn. She has had a rough life to be sure, but she had her freedom and was able to keep her idealism intact the whole time. She is young and eager to learn and to grow to be more and make a difference. She held onto the one key thing that seems to be the core belief not only in the new movies but throughout the originals – HOPE.
MARY SUE LUKE??
Now comes the other shoe. When The Last Jedi came out, one of the things I heard the most complaints about besides the humor was Luke. This was not the fan’s Luke. This was not the Luke from legends material. It was too different. Fans were looking for a Luke Skywalker that would have faced down the First Order just as he did in the movie, but instead of being a force projection, it would have really been him and he would have force shoved all the AT-M6s over like a row of dominoes and proceeded to slash and hack his way through every last troop in the First Order. Many wanted him going toe to toe with Snoke, and depending on their outlook, die a heroes death or beat Snoke, causing a new villain to arise for episode 9.
If anything it sound like this fan-Luke upset fans wanted, and even Mark Hamill, is the true Mary Sue. Fans seem upset that Luke would give up. By now Luke was to be the biggest badass in the galaxy capable of taking on Yoda, Palpatine, Windu and Vader without even breaking a sweat. Legends Luke was no Mary Sue, but the way fans are screaming about TLJ Luke and what he should have been, it sure sounds like it.
THE BRILLIANCE OF RIAN’S LUKE
In the Last Jedi, I truly believe this is the true Luke and the more valiant Luke than anything we read about in the books. One thing talked about much more today then back in the 80’s is a condition called PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome). While I’m not claiming Luke would have this, put yourself in everything Luke went through. The evil, stress and tortures at the hands of Vader and Sidious. He made it through all this, but why such a delay in starting to train new Jedi. Learning? Perhaps.
Either way, when Luke started to train the new recruits and then senses the evil in Ben, how unsettled would you become having gone through what Luke had? Imagine returning to everything you thought you had defeated years earlier with your very first student! your blood again! Imagine the dread and terror of not only that returning but at your hands. You failed as a teacher.
Luke screws up for a brief second and ignites his saber, refusing to let such evil return to the galaxy. Would you want to return to another Sith war? Ben wakes to see this and feels utterly betrayed. Why would Luke not despair? He failed to properly instruct Ben, but had also just betrayed him again by almost killing him. You awake to find your academy and students wiped out. How do you summon the power to start over again knowing you just lost your best student and the rest were murdered. How would you start over?
Fast forward to the end of the movie. Kylo flat out stated earlier in the movie that to force project over such a large distance would be fatal. Luke, reinspired by everyone’s favorite muppet, projects himself across the galaxy, knowing this is something he wont be coming back from. We see the stress he’s under later. He not only buys the resistance time to escape, but sows the doubt in Kylo that he is not the ultimate power and has not wiped out the Jedi. Luke knowingly sacrifices himself to save his friends, family and the resistance. Rey says it all “Luke is gone. I felt it, but it wasn’t sadness or pain. It was peace and purpose.” How can you have a greater show of power and strength. Luke gave his all to make that final difference!
A war film comes out. Our hero dies charging an emplacement knowing he wont make it back. He takes it out and dies in the process. Are we gonna sit back and go NOPE! NOPE! His death was not good enough. He has to have a M249 in each hand blowing everything to bits, mowing down the entire Chinese army, chucking grenades left and right. For an 80’s Rambo that may work but is that really what we want from Luke Skywalker?
One thing Hamill said that I do find credible that I didn’t think of is the difference in society between the original series and today. Back in the 80s Heroes were pure and strong. They didn’t fall and they didn’t lose. In today’s world the popular heroes are more of an anti hero or fallen hero of some sort.
“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” Legends is gone. If that is all you will accept, then remain in the books and find a new franchise. The Luke Skywalker Rian Johnson gave us was as powerful, enlightened and virtuous as any Luke from the Legends books.