Star Wars VIII To Add LGBT Characters?
Entertainment

Star Wars VIII To Add LGBT Characters?

Your favorite ship may just be canon.

42
Creative Commons

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.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Disney Plus

Millions of musical-lovers around the world rejoiced when "Hamilton," the hip-hop-mixtape-turned-musical harder to get in to than Studio 54, came to Disney Plus.

For those who had the luxury of being able to watch it in person and rewatch it with us mere mortals on our screens, the experience was almost as gripping as sitting feet from Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. From the stunning sets, graceful choreography, witty dialogue, and hauntingly beautiful singing, the experience was one even my musical-averse family felt moved by.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

We Asked You How You Felt About Resuming 'Normal' Activities, And Some Of Your Answers Shocked Us

The New York Times asked 511 epidemiologists when they'd feel comfortable doing "normal" activities again, considering COVID-19. We asked our peers the same thing, for science.

Last month, the New York Times surveyed about 500 epidemiologists asking about their comfort level with certain activities once deemed normal — socializing with friends, going to the doctor, bringing in the mail. That's all well and good for the experts, but they are a very niche group, not the majority of the population. What do "normal" people feel safe doing? In certain states, we've seen how comfortable everyone is with everything (looking at you, Florida), but we wanted to know where Odyssey's readers fell on the comfort scale. Are they sticking with the epidemiologists who won't be attending a wedding for another year, or are they storming the sunny beaches as soon as possible?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Keto Is All Fun And Games Until You're Undernourished And Almost Pass Out

Keto is just another extension of diet culture that boasts rapid weight loss, but at a steep price.

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

There has been a Keto diet craze going around in the past couple of years, with many of its followers claiming significant weight loss. With any new, trendy diet claiming miraculous weight-loss, one starts to wonder what exactly is happening behind the curtain. The keto, or ketogenic, diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that claims to help the body shift its fuel source from carbs to fat. In the medical community it has been prescribed to patients with uncontrolled epilepsy to reduce the frequency of seizures, but other than that there is little conclusive evidence to other potential benefits.

Keep Reading... Show less

Jennifer Kustanovich is not only the president of the Odyssey at Stony Brook University but is also an illuminating yoga instructor. She's an inspiring proactive leader in the wellness industry. Her expertise in movement expands onto Zumba and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

On the last day of her in-person class, she gave everyone a way of contacting her and made sure to check up on all her clients. She wanted to ensure that they were doing okay and to remind them that she is always there.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These 5 Black Female-Owned Swimwear Brands Are Must-Haves For Your HOTTEST Summer Yet

To all the woman who put their money where their mouth is, lets do two things for the price of one.

The start of summer is always exciting,(especially after an unprecedented pandemic) and people are itching to make this particular summer count. Correction: with the amount gratefulness I have for life at this moment in time I am itching to make this summer count.

But at the same time, in the midst of social justice issues, activism is something that is at the forefront of many people's minds, including mine. With money comes power and buying Black is a way to directly help the marginalized and oppressed while getting something in return.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These Are The Black-Owned Restaurants In Chicago You Should Absolutely Be Supporting

Support the movement and your appetite at the same time with these amazing spots.


The Black Lives Matter movement is taking the country by storm to crash down systematic racism and liberate people of color. However, during these changing it can be hard to determine what you can do to make an impact besides reposting Instagram stories and texting petition numbers. Instead, support Black-owned businesses or, more specifically, Black-owned restaurants. Here are some outstanding and underrated Black-owned restaurants in Chicago that can help you support the movement.
Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

10 Things To Know About LDRs, From A Couple Separated By The Atlantic Ocean AND A Pandemic

There will be challenges, but more often than not, it's worth it.

Most individuals in relationships have not been able to go on romantic dates in quite a while due to business closures in the wake of the pandemic. Other couples have encountered challenges while seeing each other face to face in the past three months due to coronavirus regulations. Long-distance relationships have unfortunately become a reality for many in this era of global health crises. Western New York native and travel journalist, Chelsea Baron, knows this all too well.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

5 Easy Summer Mocktail Recipes You Can Make With Items You Probably Already Have On-Hand

Keep these drinks in mind next time you're visiting your local farmer's market — you might want to grab some extra mint and limes.

With Summer 2020 in full swing comes the addition of many fresh fruits and vegetables to brighten up your dinner plate, but also your glass! Farmers markets are my personal favorite place to look for produce that is in season to make fun mocktails with.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments