There’s been lots of speculation about mono-moniker Rey’s last name in the Star Wars saga. (Skywalker? Kenobi? Solo?)
But her first name was actually supposed to have been something else entirely.
In an new interview published in V Magazine, Ridley — in conversation with her The Last Jedi costar Adam Driver — confirmed longstanding reports that her character was originally named Keera in The Force Awakens.
As Driver pressed Ridley about her initial discussions with The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams (who’s back in the captain’s seat to helm the as-yet-untitled Episode IX), she revealed she actually didn’t know the character was going to be called Rey.
“No, no, he told me it was meant to be Keera,” Ridley said. “And then, when we were already shooting in Abu Dhabi, he told me that he was thinking of going with Rey, which I thought was frickin’ awesome. But because I had to audition so much and everything, I never really had a conversation with J.J. about it until I had read the script. So, I had no sense of what I was getting into. No sense of what was really going to happen or what anything would entail. I hadn’t done a film before, so it was a whole new thing.”
She also looked back at just how overwhelming the project was to her as a newbie. “It’s such a crazy thing the first time around: Even if [J.J. and I] had had a conversation about it, nothing would’ve even made sense at that point anyway,” she explained. “It was unfolding as we went along.”
Of course, the name Keera has been bandied about before — barring a spelling tweak. In screenwriter Michael Arndt’s early script, the character was called Kira and described as a “loner, hothead, gear-head, badass” desperate to flee her desolate home planet of Jakku, as revealed in the book The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
“Kira” also popped up during chatter about the upcoming Han Solo movie, quickly firing up speculation that it could be the name of Emilia Clarke’s character.
As for Rey, she’s ready to come into her formidable powers in The Last Jedi, which finds mentor Luke Skywalker terrified of the sheer colossal might she appears to harbor, as fans saw in the film’s most recent trailer.
Exactly how she’ll wield that power remains to be seen on Dec. 15, when The Last Jedi storms into theaters.