22. The diversity
To be very clear: Both Game of Thrones and Star Wars suffer from a lack of diversity. No matter what genre a franchise occupies — be it history, science fiction, fantasy, romance, etc. — popular culture should still reflect the real world we live in.
No matter what excuse creators or fans make for series and movies lacking diversity, it’s not a stretch to say that blockbuster franchises like Game of Thrones and Star Wars still make the bulk of their main characters mostly white and heterosexual.
Game of Thrones is arguably worse off when it comes to diversity, seeing as it’s inspired by medieval Europe. All of the main characters in the series are white, and the few people of color are relegated to the margins as side characters with much fewer speaking lines.
And, the most notable characters of color like Missandei and her lover Grey Worm had heartbreaking endings.
While fans passionately spoke out about the whiteness of Game of Thrones, Star Wars continues to be a battleground for diversity in the sci-fi and fantasy community.
The battles have raged since the introduction of Daisy Ridley and John Boyega as the leading pair in the sequel trilogy starting with The Force Awakens. Casting a woman and a person of color as the leaders fueled the anger of a small, toxic group of fans. The vitriol got worse with the arrival of Kelly Marie Tran, who had a leading role as Rose Tico in The Last Jedi.
It’s been several years since the Skywalker saga ended, but Star Wars is still the epicenter for fans vocally demanding more people of color and more people of different genders and sexual orientations be represented in one of the biggest franchises in the world.
Star Wars still has a long way to go, but even small steps toward a more diverse fandom can make huge differences. Despite the backlash, Disney and Lucasfilm fired The Mandalorian actress Gina Carrano following a series of social media posts that many considered transphobic and anti-semitic. Star Wars also vocalized its support for The High Republic show’s Krystina Arielle after she faced cruel racist harassment.
And most recently, Star Wars announced a slate of special comic book covers for Pride Month celebrating the galaxy’s most notable LGBTQ characters. This announcement also took a tiny step toward finally portraying Lando Calrissian as queer.