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  1. #1
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    Default *IF* Rey is a Mary Sue... then Ben Solo’s *definitely* a “Gary Stu.”

    Running this argument by you guys to get some evaluations.

    Rey has had to deal with a lot of criticism comparing her to the somewhat sexist and ill-defined “Mary Sue” fan fiction character type: a generally over-powered, too perfect, “black hole of attention” type character who seems defined more by plot-centered wish-fulfillment than actual characterization.

    Personally, I find the accusation generally inapplicable to her in TFA and TLJ - TFA has enough nuance and humanity to rise above the designation, while I think TLJ’s issues are more along the lines of her being a plot tool for Luke and Kylo’s story. But, I do find Rey becoming more “fanfiction-y” in TROS, though alongside multiple other characters in that film... *especially* Ben Solo. Please note: I’m saying “Ben Solo” - not Kylo Ren.

    In general, I think Ben Solo is a last minute “Original Character” introduced for people who don’t find Rey adequate as the main Force lead, Finn inadequate as the male lead, and Adam Driver “wasted” on as despicable a character as Kylo Ren.

    Ben isn’t an evolution of Kylo Ren through redemption - there’s no dramatic depth in his redemption story beyond a magic trick and an AU-style replay of the TFA scene with Han (which also doesn’t have any good in-universe explanation). Ben also doesn’t display the dramatic depth that someone who’s done all the horrible things Kylo has done and seeks to atone for would have - he’s a clear improvisational take on what “Han Solo’s heroic son” would be in a story without Kylo. He’s exactly as overpowered as Rey is - she gets to beat Palpatine in a stupidly simple fashion, but he gets to practice necromancy. He’s also a character who the story twists around in an inelegant, illogical, and ungainly way - just like with Rey.

    In fact, their time together in the final act of TROS is basically a competition between which character’s LFL-mandated needs Overriding whatever logic is already in the scene:

    - LFL wants Ben’s arrival to help save the day, even though Rey’s already confronting Palpatine and Palpatine is both physically weak and has no reason to either weight for Rey or to play nice with her. So Palpatine suddenly unveils a brand new set of expositional lines that make it so Rey can’t kill him without losing, and needs help, so Ben can get there
    - Ben then gets “fed” all of the Knight of Ren, who are suspiciously less capable and intimidating than Snoke’s bodyguards in the previous film’s big fight scene, and have done nothing and had nothing established about them throughout the entire movie - they’re there now to “big-up” Ben, and that’s *it.*
    - Ben and Rey confront Palpatine, but now there’s a worry that the “bigged-up” Ben, with his Skywalker ancestry and his fan-service heavy characterization (seriously, everything about him is clearly meant to fulfill the desires for poeple who I’ve been calling Kylo “Ben” for two previous movies), might overshadow Rey, so down the hole he goes so it’s Rey’s moment alone.
    - Rey then beats Palpatine, but we see two different fanfiction problems here: first, her defeat of Palpatine (especially father he”s been beefed up to a Force Storm ship-killer) is a clear send-up to Avenger’s Endgame’s portal scene that has a dumb ending where she just deflects Palpatine’s lightning... and because she dies for no good reason right after. The first problem is the result of having an OP character face a more OP villain and having to use a dumb OP ending for the scene... and the second problem is because we need to bring Ben back again.
    - Rey is now “dead” and Ben suddenly rises from the hole to resurrect her and get kissed. Why? Because LFL feels that Ben needs to have Rey care about him and still want him to be the second most important character behind Rey. So Rey now pulls a Sleeping Beauty for no good reason (which *really* doesn’t work well with the progressive role model ideal they want heart to be), and Ben can survive a supposedly fatal fall and perform necromancy. And to cap it off, Rey kisses Ben for no good reason to try and elevate him that much further.
    - Kylo then dies, because LFL still needs Rey to have pre-eminence. So, Kylo dies becaus she resurrected Rey - this leaves her as the unchallenged remaining focal character, but still means that he gets a heroic sacrifice to sell his redemption and importance as hard as possible given the circumstances.

    The saving grace of everyone is the actors. But make no mistake, they screwed up the two characters they ultimately wanted to be central to the story in TROS.

    ...I would still say that just retconning Rey into a Skywalker and keeping Kylo as the main villain would have been more likely to avoid this problem, but I digress.
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  2. #2

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    I think redemption was out the window when Snoke hit the floor. Trying to do it post TLJ was always going to be clunky. Lucasfilm IMO panicked when they realized the TLJ wasn't universally beloved. The one's with the most virtroil hatred of TLJ got this message. "The old characters suck and your stupid for liking them. Here's our better characters instead."

    Intended or not I think that message was received and rejected harshly. IMO Palpatine was brought back to give the audience a villain they wouldn't sympathize with more then the heroes. Since Kylo was essentially pushed to the darkside by Luke. Rise of Skywalker was always going to be clunky. TFA and TLJ are just don't mesh together. The Rise of Skywalker tried connecting them and it didn't work.

  3. #3
    Extraordinary Member Jokerz79's Avatar
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    I judge all "Mary Sues and Gary Stues" by the ultimate one Wesley Crusher and no SW character has ever come close to him.

    Power wise all force users Ben, Rey, and Palpatine were crazy over powered Mary Sues/Gary Stues.

    As for Rey and Ben before that when I saw TFA I liked Rey and thought Kylo was a spoiled child and I had no issue with her beating Kylo in TFA whiled trained since childhood he was injured she got her moment like Luke got his in ANH. But TLJ changed all that when I 1st saw TPM I defended it but AOTC made me see it flaws and this happened with TFA and Rey.

    Let me start by pointing Luke a screw up who got lucky in ANH, screwed up all thru his Yoda training and got his butt handed to him by Vader in TESB with little effort on Vader's part even taking his hand. It wasn't until ROTJ that Luke was a real Jedi Knight and that was 4 years after the battle of Yavin.

    Rey's skill level at the end of TLJ was a major factor in pushing Rey into the Mary Sue because there was no time jump between films she went from not even knowing the Force was real to skilled Jedi in Snoke's throne room in a few weeks at best I mean that has to be a record. Also then I looked back at TFA a film I enjoy and realized the signs were always there because she never was the Luke counterpart in that film she was the Obi-Wan without the decades of being a Jedi Finn was Luke.

    Finn wanted to escape his past just like Luke and like Luke didn't care how remember Luke told Uncle Owen he wanted to go the Academy the Rebellion didn't have an Academy he was going to join the Empire just to leave home. Both were always getting in to trouble and needed another to save them thru most of their 1st films. Luke had Obi-Wan and Finn had Rey the hermit who lived in the desert and was adamant they get the droid back to the resistance sound familiar to anyone?

    As for Kylo/Ben I never considered him a Gary Stu because his skills were in line with a Force user with life long training and he had his failures (But his back story of Luke even thinking about killing his nephew after he believed there was good in Vader and was proven right is a betrayal of Luke IMO.).

    Last over all I think Rey is a Mary Sue just not a huge one and could be salvageable with a Disney+ series or something exploring her past more also I liked her due to Daisy Ridley's portrayal I just wish the sequel trilogy leaned on the Legends material and made Daisy and Adam as Jaina and Jacen Solo over Rey and Ben/Kylo.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member ChrisIII's Avatar
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    To be fair, Luke did in a few good hits in ESB-knocking him out of the Carbon chamber, and just before his own injury managed to score a glancing hit and painful-sounding on Vader's shoulder (Which probably kind of got Vader angry enough to go for the hand in the first place). Vader was even impressed (His classic "Impressive...most impressive" after Luke jumps out of the carbon chamber, and "You have learned much, young one!" etc).
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  5. #5
    Fantastic Member Cruelrain's Avatar
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    Let's be honest overpowered women are always criticized for being "to perfect" meanwhile overpowered men without back up for their abilities are always praised.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruelrain View Post
    Let's be honest overpowered women are always criticized for being "to perfect" meanwhile overpowered men without back up for their abilities are always praised.
    I’m a little wary of some possible sexism on my part when I complain about Rey lifting the rocks in TLJ, though I hope I’m being 100% honest when I argue my issue with the scene is more that there’s been no story leading to it, and that Rey’s been deprived of the character arc such a scene would conventionally have, so it doesn’t do anything for her progression or the conflicts she’s involved in. I don’t find Rey too powerful in TFA or even TROS, really; her defeat of Kylo too me uses good “wrestling psychology” to set up his vulnerability and self-destructive mistakes, and while I hate the Force Dyad idea for its character moments between Rey and Kylo, I actually think it sets up them passing lightsabers to each other okay. I worry with TLJ that I’m subconsciously rejecting the scene with the rocks because of sexism, but I don’t think I am.

    I *do* find Kylo’s outright resurrection ability in TROS to be too far... but that’s partially because it’s the type of ability that’s existence clashes with the dramatic foundation of earlier films, like Revenge of the Sith, and because the entire sequence feels like a contrivance to try and paint Ben Solo as more of a hero than his “competitors” like Luke, Finn, and Poe as the male lead hero of the Sequel Trilogy - he makes the ultimate sacrifice and does the impossible, but only because Rey suddenly dies for no good reason other than so Ben can “save” her.

    To me, the biggest defining thing about “Mary Sues”/“Gary Stues”/“Badly Written Fanfiction Characters” is how shallow they seem to be and how much the story wraps around them in a negative way - once you can tell the story’s morality is dependent on a character the author likes, to the extent where everyone else has to deal with a massive double standard in characterization, than you have one of theses types of characters...

    ...And I *still* think that when you look at that aspect of Badly Written Fanfiction Characters, it applies to Kylo and Ben a lot more than anyone else - but almost exclusively in TLJ and TROS. Rey *may* be a bit “overpowered” in TFA to some people, but I think that TFA in general has pretty organic and human characterization for everyone, and has a nice, consistent “morality bar” that ties into how the audience is supposed to view the characters. Kylo is TFA is pretty clearly the bad guy and is treated as such by everyone in TFA; even his parents are shown to know how bad he’s gotten, though their ties to him excuse them having more compassion and mercy than would otherwise be present... which is used to kick up Kylo’s loathsomeness to Rey and Finn when he kills Han in spite of the compassion and mercy.

    TLJ starts the problem, though it’s largely observable as an external attribute to Kylo, rather than an internal one: he’s still pretty objectively an unsympathetic and scummy individual... but suddenly Rey empathizing with him is supposed to make sense, and damage done to him is treated more seriously and severely than similar damage is to other characters (I.e., his feelings being hurt by Luke’s betrayal mattering more than his dead classmates, his discontent being treated as more important than Han’s death to Rey, his facial scar being give more importance than Finn’s life-threatening injuries.)

    TROS is where it goes all out, and where I think Rey begins to suffer severely from the same syndrome because LFL and Abrams are self-aware enough to know that their Ben Solo could overwhelm their female heroine the same way a “Gary Stu” character might overwhelm Rey in a fanfic. I still think that Ben Solo is the greater example of this type of schlock writing than Rey though - he’s nothing more than a wafer thin portrayal that’s nebulously heroic and charismatic, and ultimately far more of TROS’s convolutions are centered on him than on Rey. I mean, Palpatine came back according to Chris Terrio in part as a method of trying to give Ben Solo an enemy the audience would cheer against, and far more of the final act goes inconsistent in an attempt to make him matter to it than it does to giving other characters a satisfying climax.

    Like, if I can summarize my feelings on Ben Solo a bit...

    ...You know how people sometimes say that TROS was screwed up by attempting to win back TLJ critics by trying to give them what they wanted (even if the film fails hilariously at that)? I’d say Ben Solo is the counterpoint to that: he’s an attempt to bribe TLJ fans into staying with and loving TROS by giving them what they wanted, as perceived by LFL: Adam Driver playing a character totally centered on the supposedly sympathetic traits that some fans thought justified Rey’s story in TLJ, and thus totally divorced from what Kylo Ren actually was in both previous films.
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  7. #7
    Wrath of a God Xero Kaiser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by godisawesome View Post
    - Ben then gets “fed” all of the Knight of Ren, who are suspiciously less capable and intimidating than Snoke’s bodyguards in the previous film’s big fight scene, and have done nothing and had nothing established about them throughout the entire movie - they’re there now to “big-up” Ben, and that’s *it.*
    This annoyed me so much. They might as well have been regular Stormtroopers. All that hype for nothing



    Quote Originally Posted by Jokerz79 View Post

    Last over all I think Rey is a Mary Sue just not a huge one and could be salvageable with a Disney+ series or something exploring her past more
    She was a scavenger on a desert planet. I don't think there's much to explore. It'd be about as exciting as a prequel focusing on Luke's time as a moisture farmer.
    Last edited by Xero Kaiser; 04-02-2020 at 05:11 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xero Kaiser View Post
    This annoyed me so much. They might as well have been regular Stormtroopers. All that hype for nothing





    She was a scavenger on a desert planet. I don't think there's much to explore. It'd be about as exciting as a prequel focusing on Luke's time as a moisture farmer.
    The fact that the Praetorian Guards had a better action scene and wound up being more impressive than the Knights Of Ren adds to the frustration, and in a weird way kind fo doubles down on the idea that Kylo Ren was a more inadequate Big Bad than Snoke - Kylo himself was impulsive and somewhat stupid compared to Snoke, and even his henchman aren’t up to snuff with Snoke’s. Don’t get me wrong, Snoke was clearly more of a send up to Palpatine than a new character, but it just shows another area where the ST unintentionally sabotages itself.

    And I think that Rey would have been in a better place as a marketable character if she had just been a flat out Skywalker, even if it was revealed halfway through TROS in direct contravention of TLJ’s storyline ideas. I mean, I can almost guarantee you she’d be a more popular character if that were the case, probably wouldn’t be dragged down by kissing Ben to undermine her strength as a character and potential role model, and would thus be more likely to get a post-TROS series in quick order, but beyond that, making her a Skywalker would have at least opened up an interesting story between the OT and ST regarding her mother and Luke - basically a mini-PT-style story arc just waiting to be told.

    And to go ahead and address this counterargument, yeah, making Rey a Skywalker would have been the kind of conventional and easy story element that a fanfcition character might have... But hey, wouldn’t you know it? That’s exactly what Kylo is anyways, so it’s not like it’d be any weaker than what he got. Hell, he’s the only major ST character to get an important, Charles Soule-penned comic at TROS’s release.

    I guess what I’m saying is that if anyone thinks that Kylo’s story is fine, or exactly what the character required, or that he’s not badly written, than there’s really no argument to be made against Rey Skywalker at all. He’s every worst case scenario people had about making Rey a Skywalker... and he’s still popular, even if equally hated and loathed.
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  9. #9

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    One thing I don't get is why people say Kylo did better in the fight with the guards. I recall him getting chocked out and killing less then Rey. Granted I've only seen TLJ twice. That claim has always seemed weird to me. The sad part about the sequel trilogy is I could see ways it could've worked with just a few changes.

    1. Make it Kylo's choice to be a darksider not make it Luke's fault.
    2. Have Luke and Rey actually bond so there is a connection.
    3. Don't bring back Palpatine unless you plan to hint at it from movie 1.
    4. Most importantlyhave a roadmap. The OT may have worked without one but that doesn't mean every trilogy will.

  10. #10
    Wrath of a God Xero Kaiser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MASTER-OF-SUPRISE View Post
    One thing I don't get is why people say Kylo did better in the fight with the guards. I recall him getting chocked out and killing less then Rey.
    Kylo did kill more of the guards, and was often fighting 2 or 3 at a time while Rey spent most of the fight struggling with a single one.
    Last edited by Xero Kaiser; 04-03-2020 at 03:52 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xero Kaiser View Post
    Kylo did kill more of the guards, and was often fighting 2 or 3 at a time while Rey spent most of the fight struggling with a single one.
    He does kill more if I recall, but Rey handles herself well, and I think the thing that sticks with the audience about the actual characters of the scene in Rey and Kylo is the scene ends with them being portrayed as exact equals when it comes to the Force tug of war, Rey being finished with her guards first to toss Kylo the saber, and then a few hardcore fans realize she left him unconscious but unharmed on the Supremacy right after he declared he was goin to kill everyone and had another temper tantrum at her denying his narcissistic dream... which didn’t even get a scene of her seeing his unconscious form and contemplating whether to kill him or not...

    ...Which is kind of the moment in TLJ where I think we can say Kylo’s importance to the plot became more important than Rey’s to the main meat of the story. We just skipped over what would normally be a key moral challenge for the main character, and she’s now mostly just founded Chewbacca as an over-qualifies Uber Driver. Her lifting the mountain is a big visual, but had no lead up in the story for her character arc - its another scene of her being more of a plot tool than a character for TLJ... right before we end with her sadly expressing disappointment that the mass murdering patricide didn’t want to join her.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xero Kaiser View Post
    Kylo did kill more of the guards, and was often fighting 2 or 3 at a time while Rey spent most of the fight struggling with a single one.
    I could be remember the numbers wrong. Personally I remember Kylo taking on three and killing two of them. The third one chocking him out. Rey I remember killing 3. Of course I also recall there being 5 of them so take from that what you will. Honestly the fight scene is really a minor issue.

  13. #13
    Extraordinary Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    Kylo at least has some training, but otherwise, I won't argue against it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalope89 View Post
    Kylo at least has some training, but otherwise, I won't argue against it.
    Funny thing about him overall is that when he first walked on screen as a bad guy and froze a blaster bolt in mid-air... that wound up arguably being the character’s high point as a villain and definitely as a Force User until his bit of necromancy in TROS.

    And it’s funny how Bad Guys can be Overpowered, and it’s harder to make that a bad thing. I supposed it’s because they’re causing challenges and conflict, so as long as the hero has to be clever to work to get a victory, the initial challenge isn’t so bad.

    I’ll also add that if Ben had frozen a Knight of Ren in place a la TFA, I would have found that cooler than them flailing around like the B-Team for the Praetorian Guard.

    It’s just the way the story twists around Kylo/Ben that makes me think he belongs more in cheap fanfiction after TFA than not.
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  15. #15
    Extraordinary Member Zero Hunter's Avatar
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    Pulling powers out of your ass is pretty much the definition of being a Mary Sue and both Rey and Ben did that throughout this whole trilogy. Need to be able to heal? Jedi can do it. Grabbing things from across the galaxy? Jedi can do it. pretty much everything JJ and Rian came up with in regards to the force was bullshit plot devices.

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