Daisy Ridley to Reprise Role as Rey in New ‘Star Wars’ Film

The “Star Wars” movie future just came into sharper focus: Daisy Ridley’s Rey will be the center of the first “Star Wars” feature film since 2019’s “The Rise of Skywalker,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy announced at Star Wars Celebration in London on Friday. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (“Ms. Marvel”) will direct from a script by Steven Knight (“Peaky Blinders”). The film follows the events of “Rise of Skywalker,” and will focus on Rey as she builds a new Jedi Order.

The project marks several major milestones for the franchise: Obaid-Chinoy is the first woman and the first person of color to direct a “Star Wars” movie. The Pakistani filmmaker won two Academy Awards for documentary short, in 2011 for “Saving Face” and in 2015 for “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” and she most recently directed two episodes of “Ms. Marvel” for Disney+.

“It’s just exciting,” Jon Favreau told Variety after the panel. “I always find it really satisfying, encouraging when you have people who come through Star Wars, come back to Star Wars. It shows you how strong that community is and how big of a bond you develop. For Daisy to come back and be part of where this is going, I’m excited to see where all at what happens there.”

Getting to this point has been bumpier than successfully navigating an asteroid field for Lucasfilm. Knight stepped in to write the film after the original screenwriters, Damon Lindelof (HBO’s “Watchmen”) and Justin Britt-Gibson (“Counterpart”), left the project in February — the latest example of high profile creatives departing a “Star Wars” feature project months (or even years) after their involvement was first reported. 

In December 2020, Kennedy announced that “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins would helm the first post-“Rise of Skywalker” feature, titled “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.” It was scheduled to open in December 2023, but after years of zero progress on the project, Disney pulled the film from its schedule in September. In March, Variety reported that it was no longer in active development at Lucasfilm. 

A similar fate befell an untitled “Star Wars” movie to be produced by Kevin Feige, chief of Lucasfilm’s corporate sibling Marvel Studios. News broke of Feige’s involvement in September 2019, and the project appeared to be active as recently as May 2022. But sources told Variety that Lucasfilm has since shelved the project and it was no longer in active development.

Along with Obaid-Chinoy’s film, Kennedy also announced that James Mangold (who just directed Lucasfilm’s upcoming “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”) and Dave Filoni (executive producer of the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian” and “Ahsoka”) will direct upcoming “Star Wars” movies.

Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarok”) is also developing a “Star Wars” feature in which he would direct and star, and Shawn Levy is still attached to direct a “Star Wars” movie following his work on Marvel’s “Deadpool 3” and the Netflix limited series “All the Light We Cannot See.”