‘Star Wars’ Will Soon Have Its First Openly Gay Character
Much has been made of the diversity in the new era of Star Wars, with J.J. Abrams smartly casting the franchise’s first black and female leading characters in John Boyega’s Finn and Daisy Ridley’s Rey. They weren’t the only diverse part of The Force Awakens, which boasted a noticeably varied assortment of genders and ethnicities in its supporting and extras casting, but many fans are still wondering when — or if — we might see an openly gay character in the newly inclusive franchise. According to J.J. Abrams, it will happen, and soon.
Abrams was asked by The Daily Beast if we can expect an openly gay character to be featured in a future Star Wars film, to which Abrams exclaimed, “Of course!” He went on to say, “When I talk about inclusivity it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course.”
The director made strides not only in the Star Wars universe but in studio blockbuster filmmaking by casting his two leading characters as a woman and a black man, and went further by defying the status quo in casting several women and people of color in supporting roles and non-speaking extras roles. Some may not feel as though that small casting choice is a big deal, but when the majority of roles in films — from featured players to extras — remain filled by white men, it’s definitely important.
Equally important is casting an openly gay character, ensuring that the diversity in Star Wars continues to reflect the diversity of our real world. And even though this universe is in a galaxy far, far away, it’s crucial that Lucasfilm takes advantage of a landscape where a vast array of races, genders and species exist. Abrams agrees:
To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.
Polygon notes that the Star Wars franchise does have an openly gay character, but he’s not in the films. Chuck Wendig’s official Star Wars novel Aftermath centers on Sinjir Rath Velus, a gay Imperial officer who abandons the Empire and joins up with the Rebel Alliance. Wendig didn’t make Sinjir Rath Velus’ sexuality a huge part of the story; in other words, the character isn’t defined by that sexuality, which is also important.
As for the Star Wars film universe, it’s unclear when the first openly gay character will make their debut, but perhaps we’ve met them already. There is a contingency of fans who believe that Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron and / or Boyega’s Finn may identify as gay, and some have begun ’shipping the pair.
Those hopes weren’t exactly dashed when Episode VIII director Rian Johnson shared this tweet as a humorous reaction to an ongoing thread (about crossword puzzles, but still):
Fans are STILL responding to Johnson’s tweet over a month later, pleading with him to make Finn and Poe’s romance a real thing. We’ll find out in 2017.