Okay, cool. Another Star Wars character to meet in the parks, right? Well, there's something about Rey that's not like these other characters. (And it's not gender in this case... though now that I think about it, if we are no longer considering the Star Wars Christmas Special as canon, is there anything in the six films in which Chewbacca has appeared that has established Chewie's gender? Hmmm....)
When Disney fans meet Rey in the Launch Bay this summer, they're not going to be meeting Daisy Ridley, the actress who portrayed her in the Star Wars films. (Well, not unless Disney pulls off another of its social media stunts. Even if so, it'll be only a handful of guests who get that opportunity.) And that poses a creative challenge for Disney. They can try to cast look-alikes for Daisy Ridley, but they're never going to get it exactly right. Case in point.
Casting Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Kylo Ren for a theme park character is relatively easy. Find a good physical actor who is the correct height and put 'em in the suit. Yes, Disney has cast "face" characters in its parks for generations. But these are almost always based on animated characters, such as the many Disney princesses and princes. That gives Disney a bit of leeway in casting. So long as the potential cast members' faces look close enough to suggest their animated counterparts, the public's imagination will carry the illusion the rest of the way.
That's not the case with non-animated face characters. Harrison Ford is Han Solo. Carrie Fisher is Leia Organa. (Please, Disney, let's keep it that way, okay?) And Daisy Ridley is Rey. A theme park look-alike is to the "real" Rey like one of those Times Square knock-offs is to the "real" in-park Mickey Mouse, at least, in my opinion. It breaks the illusion and undercuts the fantasy.
Disney has been doing this with Star Lord (and Mary Poppins a generation ago), so Rey hardly will be the first non-animated, leading role, face character in the parks. But Star Lord never has looked quite right, to me. YMMV, of course.
J.K. Rowling famously kept Harry Potter, Ron, Hermione, and other film characters out of Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter in large part due to the casting challenge. But there are plenty of theme park fans who love to meet Superman at a Six Flags park or Peter Quill at Disney World and who will welcome the chance to meet Rey at Disneyland — no matter if they don't look exactly like they did on screen.
Star Lord and Gamora was in the Guardians dance show next to Mission Breakout.
Mary Poppins often shows up as well as Cruella de Vill, which looks very much like Glenn Close's version.
Since the smash hit, Maleficent has regularly appeared as Angelina Jolie's version instead of the green faced animated version.
Disney already has precedence to have face character portrayals of their movie counterparts. It's perfectly fine.
Amusingly, that's the only reference I can think of that indicates Chewie's gender.
I know my view is an outlier and if having a Rey in the park makes the experience more special for children, so be it.
-Luke Skywalker Ep. 4
Of course, if pseudo-Rey will cut the lines for Space Mountain and Star Tours, I'm all for it. Plus, smaller kids probably won't notice the differences as much.
This is why JK Rowling doesn't allow likeness of Harry Potter movie characters to stroll around at Universal -- a smart choice.
Han: Let "him" have it. It’s not wise to upset a Wookiee.
C-3PO: But sir. Nobody worries about upsetting a droid.
Han: That’s cause a droid don’t pull people’s arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.
C-3PO: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, R2. Let the Wookiee win.
Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope
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I may be wrong in this, but if it is true, is Disney now be required to pay Chris Pratt and Daisy Ridley to use their likeness in this way? Perhaps that was something that was negotiated in their contracts up front. What about the Marvel heroes? Some wear masks, others do not.