Daisy Ridley May Have Found Her Next Film Franchise

The ‘Star Wars’ actress will star in a mystery from the makers of ‘Ready or Not,’ and it’s got sequel potential.
Daisy Ridley As Rey
By  · Published on April 27th, 2020

As Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in the news again for its May 4th debut on Disney+, you may be wondering what’s next for Daisy Ridley. The actress was pretty much introduced to the world with her casting as Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and while she’s done other projects in the years since, she’s still primarily known for leading the sequel trilogy from a galaxy far, far away. Now that the Skywalker Saga is done, it’s time for Ridley to further prove she’s capable of more than wielding a lightsaber and exhibiting sexual tension with Kylo Ren.

So far, the only post-Star Wars film work of hers has been subject to delays, and not all of it because of COVID-19. She narrates a new IMAX documentary short called Asteroid Hunters, which was supposed to hit large-format screens on April 17th but is now indefinitely postponed. Then there’s the big-budget Charlie Kaufman-co-scripted, Doug Liman-helmed sci-fi movie that was initially shot back in 2017 with extensive reshoots conducted last year. Once slated for release in March 2019, Chaos Walking, which co-stars Tom Holland, might eventually arrive in theaters in January 2021.

That’s not a promising follow-up, even with attempts to fix the thing after poor test screening reactions. Everything else she’s attached to is in the early stages of development and not coming out anytime soon. They range from small dramas to a World War II spy biopic from The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams (as producer). Who knows what we can expect from any of them. But here’s news of something that could very well be a good step for the next stage of her career: Deadline reports Ridley will star in an adaptation of The Ice Beneath Her.

The novel is described as being similar to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. But given the directing team attached to the mystery thriller, The Ice Beneath Her could have more of a sense of humor. The film collective Radio Silence (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, and Chad Villella) last gave us Ready or Not, a satirical horror-comedy starring Samara Weaving as a bride who is hunted by her new in-laws on her wedding night. It was one of the best pictures of 2019. The trio is set to continue the Scream franchise next, and that’ll presumably also involve laughs mixed with scares.

Ridley could be playing the criminal profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schön, a character who has already been given a sequel book by Swedish author Camilla Grebe. That means The Ice Beneath Her may be the start of a new film series for the Star Wars actress. In this first story, she’s recruited to solve a case involving a decapitated head found in the home of a wealthy chain-store CEO, who also happens to be missing. In the second book, After She’s Gone, Hanne suffers from memory loss while working on another case. The thing is, though, in the books, Hanne is a much older woman.

If the actress is instead playing a younger character from The Ice Beneath Her who is separately investigating the same case, then it’s a one-shot affair, not unlike Ridley’s last big non-Star Wars movie, Murder on the Orient Express, which itself is a mystery adaptation that has spawned a movie franchise without her continued involvement. Perhaps after the commitment of Star Wars, not to mention the neverending connection that she’ll have and the scrutiny she’ll endure along with that, she prefers to steer clear of long-term film deals for a while. No sequels, no sagas, no fandom.

The screenplay for The Ice Beneath Her has already been completed by Caitlin Parrish, a writer on the Supergirl series, and will be produced by Radio Silence alongside Andrew Lazar (American Sniper, Mortdecai). Besides the question of whom Ridley is playing in the movie, I do wonder if the script will retain the unreliable first-person narrator format of the book. If Ridley does somehow play the protagonist, who is also the one telling the story in print form, we can look forward to more of her vocal talent, as heard in documentary voiceovers, video games, and Peter Rabbit films.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.