The following contains certain spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Proceed with caution…
Screenwriter and director Max Landis took fire yesterday after tweeting his belief that Rey from the new Star Wars movie is a “Mary Sue” — an author insertion character who is great at everything while the established characters stand back in awe. He subsequently posted a video backing up his claim:
Does he have valid points? Are they too easily dismissed as sexist because the incredibly good at everything Force-adept in this series is a woman?
If I may add some of my own opinion to the mix, it’s clear the Star Wars magic did not work on him. Each film in the series features plenty of flaws that are dismissed if the overall effort succeeds. The original Star Wars is cheap looking and hokey if one is not swayed by its pace and (seeming) inventiveness. The Prequel Trilogy would seem to be an overwhelming disaster of poorly executed scenes, and yet, there are those deeply invested in the look of the Old Republic and the tragedy of Anakin’s downfall.
Landis is a modern screenwriter and modern screenwriting conventions demand quicker answers, origin stories and overt character arcs. Viewed from that prism, The Force Awakens is a masterpiece of shoddy screenwriting. The characters don’t grow or change very much. We don’t learn about where they came from. But then, the same could be said for the original Star Wars.