Rey Solo: How J.J. Abrams Frames Isolation in 'The Force Awakens'
A new video essay explores the visual elements and framing used to show the isolation and loneliness of Rey in The Force Awakens.
Kasper Møller Jensen's video essay will be useful to you as a filmmaker, but if you haven't seen Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens yet, please don't watch the below video, or even read this article. There are major spoilers ahead.
NOTE: This video has since been deleted by its owner.
Rey is arguably the strongest character J.J. Abrams gave us in his update on the storied Star Wars franchise, but there is more that went into building the tremendous spirit of independence in this future Jedi than first meets the eye.
Rey is comfortable taking on the universe alone.
Daisey Ridley was an inspired choice in casting, as she was able to provide Rey with a blend of strength, humor, and vulnerability entirely unnatural for most first-timers, especially within the pressure-laden confines of a film destined for astronomical levels of fanboy scrutiny. In the video essay, you can see just how much attention to detail J.J. Abrams and cinematographer Dan Mindel give this character through framing choices alone.
In every one of the shots highlighted, Rey is given the entire side of a screen to occupy by herself. She is placed in environments where she appears minuscule in comparison to the behemoth structures and ruins of the Galactic Empire behind her. The takeaway: she is comfortable taking on the universe alone.
Rey's strength and independence is born out of decades of isolation and abandonment, and Abrams goes the whole nine yards in making sure the audience is well aware of her plight. These are traits she has in common with another few members of the famed Jedi order... who also grew up alone on a desert planet... and who also lost their parents to some sort of terrible accident. In fact, it seems at times that Abrams has pulled a George Lucas and digitally removed Luke or Anakin Skywalker from a two-sunned Tatooine landscape, replacing them with Rey instead.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is out now on Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital on demand. Look out for our upcoming rundown of the best behind-the-scenes features and deleted scenes.