Star Wars VIII To Add LGBT Characters?

Star Wars VIII To Add LGBT Characters?

Your favorite ship may just be canon.
29
views

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

Popular Right Now

To the guy that shot my brother...

7058
views

To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating
Facebook Comments