Since her debut in The Force Awakens, Rey has been at the center of many Star Wars debates, with The Last Jedi both solving some mysteries while creating all-new ones. One of these debates, which has caused a vast amount of controversy, relates to Rey's abilities with the Force, yet many fans might be ignoring the most obvious answer: Rey is more powerful than Luke.
In The Force Awakens, Rey appeared to be nothing more than a scavenger, seeking out pieces of downed ships and vehicles to trade in for meals. It was through her scavenging that she came across BB-8 and her entire adventure began.
Audiences saw Rey pilot a speeder, learning little else about her abilities at steering a spacecraft like the Millennium Falcon. Without knowing much about these skills, Rey was able to out-maneuver First Order pilots while escaping Jakku. In the original Star Wars, audiences learned that Luke was somewhat familiar with spacecraft, having admitted to using his T-16 Skyhopper to shoot womp rats, which were roughly the same size as the Death Star's vulnerable weakness.
A key moment in the finale of Star Wars was Luke relying on his instincts and abilities with the Force to bypass his targeting computer to shoot a proton torpedo to blow up the Death Star. The Force being a mysterious presence, it was never defined how his abilities would prove a better resource than mechanical equipment, but being familiar with the Force aided him in a way relating to his piloting abilities. This would make it more plausible that Rey, no matter what her experiences with piloting, would be a better pilot thanks to the power of the Force in some mysterious way.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke confronts Vader but ultimately is defeated. Without witnessing his training regimen or even being aware of whether he trained at all, Luke was able to defeat Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi. One theory that explains how he could best a Sith Lord like Vader is that, the more attuned someone is with the Force, the more power they possess.
Rey didn't see much hand-to-hand combat in The Force Awakens, yet, after tapping into her latent Force abilities, is able to briefly best Kylo Ren in combat, despite his skills. This doesn't confirm that Rey is a better warrior than Kylo Ren, but rather shows she was strong enough with the Force to take the Sith off guard long enough for Starkiller Base's destruction to interrupt their duel.
In The Last Jedi, we see Rey train briefly with a lightsaber, yet her time with Luke focused more on honing her Force abilities than improving her physical strength. Rey and Kylo don't exactly have a duel in The Last Jedi, yet they do briefly face one another using their Force abilities in hopes of wielding Anakin's former lightsaber, resulting in a stalemate.
A key moment in The Last Jedi involves Luke claiming to have only seen raw power like Rey's once before, which was when he attempted to train Kylo, then known as Ben Solo. With Luke having encountered Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Darth Vader, the assumption is that both Kylo and Rey are stronger than them all, or that Luke doesn't really know what he's talking about and his instincts being wrong.
Audiences have accused Rey as being a "Mary Sue," or rather a character who has no flaws and can accomplish anything without much effort. It's possible that the explanation is no more simple than Rey potentially being more powerful than any other hero we've seen in the Star Wars saga up to this point.
Star Daisy Ridley recently addressed these insults, calling out "fans" who refer to her as a Mary Sue as being sexist.
"I don't buy the Mary Sue thing anyway. I find the term sexist in itself because it's, 'Mary Sue'. I don't think there's a thing called 'Ryan Craig,'" Ridley pointed out during a recent interview. "When I was doing it, I never felt sure of what was going on. It wasn't like, 'This is happening, and I'm so powerful and look at me go.'"
She added, "And essentially, all I found Rey trying to do in the first one was she was trying to the right thing like she was trying to help BB-8 and then she's trying to help Finn and now she's trying to help the Resistance. It's not a sort of self-centered power that she's just exhibiting,because also she didn't ask for anything in the first one."
Given that some supposed fans of the saga simply refuse to accept that Luke Skywalker would turn his back on the Jedi Order after a defeat, it's possible these same critics are refusing to accept that one of the greatest sci-fi heroes of all time might not be as powerful as a new character.
The Last Jedi is in theaters now.