Gay Characters in Star Wars

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was important not just because it was the beginning of a new era for the sci-fi saga, but because it began to diversify the franchise to make it inclusive for people of all kinds. Daisy Ridley took the mantle as the strong, lead female character Rey, John Boyega arrived to finally make for another lead black character, and Oscar Isaac brought some Guatemalan flare to the Star Wars universe. Those are just the lead characters, but the entire supporting cast and even the extras were chock full of people from a variety of diverse backgrounds.

And now J.J. Abrams says that the future of Star Wars will include gay characters, and it’s about damn time.

Speaking at the Oscar Wilde Awards at Bad Robot Productions, The Daily Beast talked to Abrams about the increased level of diversity in Star Wars that came with The Force Awakens, and they talked about whether or not his vision for the future of Star Wars (he’s still producing Star Wars: Episode VIII) includes homosexual characters. And the answer shouldn’t be surprising as all:

“When I talk about inclusivity it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course. To me the fun of Star Wars is exploring the possibilities, so it seems insanely narrow minded to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.”

Regardless of personal politics, the inclusion of gay characters in Star Wars is just something that makes sense practically. After all, we’re talking about a galaxy far, far away where there should be an endless array of characters with varying backgrounds. If there are dozens of aliens species that we’ve been seeing for years, not to mention humans from varying worlds speaking different languages, then of course there are going to be homosexual characters in the Star Wars galaxy. There’s probably even humans and aliens partaking in inter-species relationships.

In fact, in case you haven’t been keeping up with the canon stories that have been sprouting up in the Star Wars universe, there are already gay characters who have been revealed. Paul Kemp’s novel Lords of the Sith features the homosexual Moff Delian Mors while Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath novel has Sinjir Rath Velus and Esmelle Wexley (the latter having ties to Greg Grunberg’s Snap Wexley from The Force Awakens).

Even though the inclusion of gay characters is something that’s long overdue in Star Wars, there’s no doubt going to be complaining when one of them finally makes it to the big screen. After all, there was plenty of senseless uproar from ignorant racists when John Boyega was cast in the lead role as a defected Stormtrooper, so you can only imagine what will happen when a gay character comes along.

However, there’s a chance we may have already met a gay character on screen and just don’t know it yet. Some have hypothesized that Poe Dameron may be a gay character. And other fans have gone so far as to start hoping that Poe and Finn end up falling in love with each other, including Isaac himself admitting that he may have made their friendship subtly romantic in his performance. Here’s hoping we learn more about Poe Dameron’s background in Star Wars: Episode VIII.

Abrams is a big proponent of increasing diversity and representing people of various backgrounds on film as he previously told The Daily Beast, “I think we all have a hell of a lot to do, and I think it is insane to me that we still have to have a conversation about inclusivity. It’s shameful. We all need to do better to represent this world. It’s something that is important to me, and is something that we’re focusing on at [production company] Bad Robot.”

Regardless of what you think of Abrams as a filmmaker, his efforts in this capacity are more than admirable, and the industry would be improved if studios all started casting movies with an eye towards more accurately representing our diverse society.

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Have something to say about this post?
Click to join the discussion.