Speaking at the US-Ireland Alliance Oscar Wilde Awards on Thursday, earlier this week, Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams talked about his desire to see gay characters in future Star Wars films…
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In a universe full of literally every kind of alien, it’s hard to imagine that up until John Boyega popped-up on screen in the first trailer for The Force Awakens, no black man had ever had a lead in any Star Wars film (Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian was a sidekick and secondary character at best, so can’t be counted as a leading man). Perhaps Star Wars was a product of its time — where lead-roles went to white males — but even when the Prequel Trilogy came along, the best Lucas could do, was give us Samuel Jackson in a minor role as Mace Windu.
Fast forward to now, and you would think that we’ve gotten past the barriers of the past, where leading roles can go to not only white males, but to females of all color, black males, and even gay men and women, or any person under the LGBT spectrum. People reports that, when talking to the press at the US-Ireland Alliance Oscar Wilde Awards on Thursday, J.J. Abrams had some thoughts on the matter:
"“When I talk about inclusivity its not excluding gay characters, it’s about inclusivity so of course,” he told reporters at the US-Ireland Alliance Oscar Wilde Awards on Thursday. “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.”"
Abrams did a lot to break down barriers with The Force Awakens. He cast virtual unknowns in the roles of Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega), and he made them central characters in a film full of beloved original characters that had a diehard following…and they shined. Ridley has quickly become a role model to girls all over the globe, as a beacon of strength, and Boyega has proudly carried the Star Wars torch, passed to him by Harrison Ford’s fallen character, Han Solo.
It’s time to open the galaxy far, far away just a little bit more, and start accepting that in an imaginary universe where aliens interact with humans on a daily basis, where magical beings worship a mystical religion and wield laser swords, a character or characters that are gay or transgender do in fact have a place.