Wushu was Critical in Star Wars Universe
Wushu was also critical for another heroine in the Star Wars universe. Last year, for The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley (who plays the protagonist Rey) trained with Liang Yang, who she described as a “wushu fricking master.” Yang was responsible for coordinating stunts on the film and has worked on other projects including Skyfall and Game of Thrones, both of which won the award of Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture at the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2013. The Star Wars universe would not be as historic without the martial artists turned stunt actors that step in during the most dramatic scenes.
Daisy Ridley, although being trained in wushu to prepare for the intensity of her role, was fortunate to have Chloe Bruce perform as a stunt double for some of the trickier battle sequences. Bruce is a 4th degree black belt, has won hundreds of martial arts championships across UK and Europe, and is most famous for her world record breaking high kicks. Bruce’s accomplishments demonstrate that martial arts are for everyone, no matter their gender, age, or background.
Looking further back in the history of Star Wars, wushu actually made its debut in the 1999 film Phantom Menace. Ray Park, the actor behind the fearsome face paint of Darth Maul, fell in love with martial arts movies as a kid; saying, “I loved Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen. And I really owe a lot to Jet Li as well.” Li’s quickness with weapons influenced Park to develop his skills with weaponry. Despite Darth Maul’s prowess with the double-sided lightsaber, Park said that the “Bo staff is one of the hardest weapons to practice.”