Star Wars VIII To Add LGBT Characters?

Star Wars VIII To Add LGBT Characters?

Your favorite ship may just be canon.
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I grew up watching the Star Wars franchise, and can vividly remember the excitement I carried into the movie theater when I got to see Revenge of the Sith with my best friend as a kid. So while Star Wars has faded into a distant favorite in my mind, when I heard the series was being renewed, I was optimistic. I didn’t start to get truly excited, however, until I saw the trailer and the film’s new leads.

The idea of having a young woman and a black man as this epic sci-fi series’ heroes really got to me. I didn’t even know I cared that much about the franchise featuring light saber-wielding Jedi women until I started seeing the Pop Vinyl figures of Rey creeping up on comic book store shelves. I thought to myself, I can finally dress up as a hero other than Black Widow for Halloween. Little boys would finally start to see themselves represented in a character that - like Luke Skywalker - might eventually become a household name.

I actually have mixed feelings about the film as a whole, which I won’t get into now, but overall I enjoyed the new installation. I wasn’t the only one who was a little iffy but many more people were rushing to embrace the new episode, and, little to my surprise, to ship two of the film’s mains together: Finn and Poe.


I’m never against ships, though generally rarely on board with them either, but I really did not notice the chemistry these shippers had seen on screen. Still, that very same optimistic part of me that had been thrilled to see Daisy Ridley and John Boyega cast, remained open to the idea of this ship actually being canon while still not trying to get my hopes up.

Cue the GLAAD, formerly the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, 2016 Studio Responsibility Index reports. A review which this media-monitoring organization comes out with every year to review the representation or under-representation of LGBT people in the media produced by our major film studios and distributors. Only 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate Entertainment seem to have garnered an “adequate” rating among their peers, but Walt Disney Studios (surprise, surprise) has generally been failing the GLAAD review for the last couple years.

This isn’t a big shocker but what got fans, reviewers and industry professionals buzzing was GLAAD’s concluding statement of the report, suggesting that a great place to start with LGBT inclusion would be, you guessed it, Star Wars Episode VIII.

The new franchise’s creators and actors have been under scrutiny over this potential “plot twist” for months now, and many Finn/Poe shippers rejoiced to hear Star Wars The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams say, “When I talk about inclusivity it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course.”

But are statements such as these really an affirmation of LGBT characters on the way? Or just another example of the industry queer-baiting?

“It is not enough for LGBT characters to simply be present,” GLAAD’s President and CEO herself stated. “Rather, these characters must be crafted thoughtfully and better reflect the full diversity of the LGBT community. Leaving LGBT people out of the picture — or including them only as a punchline — keeps old prejudices alive and creates an unsafe environment, not only here in America, but around the world where most audiences see these depictions.”

On that note, the news that Finn and Poe might suddenly bloom into a series love interest in the next installation, rather than making me optimistic, starts to make me cringe. The reality of the situation, from how I’m seeing it, is that most of Finn and Poe’s on-screen chemistry was not scripted, but rather played up by their actors, particularly Oscar Issac. And while normally I would applaud a studio like Disney for listening to the fans, and potentially changing a script in order to include an overwhelming demand for diversity and inclusivity, I can’t ignore the fact that suddenly writing these characters’ romance in this way would, inevitably, come across as shoehorned and imposed rather than how an LGBT romance (or any romance) should be crafted.

As much as I want to see myself represented in the Star Wars universe, I’m tired of seeing LGBT characters being crafted in films so one-dimensionally. If the next Star Wars episode features a Finn/Poe romance, I won’t be angry or upset. I’m sure I’ll still enjoy it. I’ll just be a little disappointed. It’s not about checking off a box. It’s about having gay characters that are more than their sexuality.

It’s about time that Hollywood understood that what fans are asking for isn’t a “gay” Jedi, but a Jedi who is thoughtfully written and well-developed. And also gay.

Cover Image Credit: Creative Commons

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"

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This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.

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Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.

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Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.

3.Bunnicula

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You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.

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You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.

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The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers

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You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.

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The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"

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The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution

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This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi

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Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters

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You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs

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Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.

14.Go-Gurt

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Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets

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Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

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