When Daisy Ridley says taco with its short a in her Estuary English accent, it sounds more like a planet in the Star Wars galaxy than the filled tortilla. The actress will conclude her run playing Rey, the flinty heroine and suspected Jedi, in the third film of the trilogy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, out in theaters December 20, and she and I are having lunch at Los Angeles vegan restaurant Nic’s on Beverly to discuss the end of the epic sci-fi saga, the trajectory of her still-nascent career, and the push-pull of navigating a private life with a public persona.
The sprightly brunette suggests sharing several plates, including tempura-avocado tacos and eggplant-Bolognese gnochetti. Ridley forsook meat products after watching Simon Amstell’s cautionary mockumentary Carnage, though she calls herself a “chegan” due to the occasional sushi cheat. The Londoner is in town for Disney’s annual behemoth D23 Expo, which gathers all of its stars in Anaheim to address fans and press. There, a newly released clip showing Rey draped in a dark robe and clutching a red lightsaber had fan sites erupting in furious and urgent speculation: Does Rey cross over to the dark side?!