Merrin’s sexuality came from Respawn in the Battle Scars novel

Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars. Image courtesy
Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars. Image courtesy /

Dragon Con has come and gone, and this year, video game and Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars writer Sam Maggs attended for the first time. One panel she participated in was the Star Wars Writers Q&A panel. It was a great mix of writers from Legends material to the new guard like Maggs. I was lucky enough to attend, and during one moment in the panel, Maggs revealed something that I didn’t previously know.

While I knew that the Nightsister Merrin was pansexual, I did not know this was a point pushed by the video game developer Respawn, not Maggs. This isn’t exactly news, as other publishers like Gayming Magazine have reported this point before.

But hearing Maggs say it on stage (while being unapologetically queer in front of hundreds of people) affected me. It was news to me, and it surprised me.

As a queer woman, it often feels like the writers and creators have to fight for these kinds of stories. Only recently have I started seeing myself in this galaxy I love so much, and I’m a luckier person as a white woman. When you dive into the intersectionality of people who are queer and BIPOC, that number gets even smaller on screen.

The on-screen is the important thing too. The books and comics are a wellspring of LGBTQIA+ content from the High Republic to Doctor Aphra and everything in between. On-screen is where Star Wars starts to stumble. Some progress has been made with characters like Vel and Cinta in Andor, but Star Wars gets a failing grade in terms of animation.

My sweet and historic partners Orka and Flix might be the first on-screen couple of the franchise, but they are never confirmed in Star Wars Resistance, where kids could see themself. Also, they have been ignored by Star Wars social media for three Prides in a row with no mention of them whatsoever. I’ve also covered the Tales of the Jedi incident before, where the final episode of Season 1 erased a queer black woman from the Ahsoka novel by E.K. Johnston. Animation gets a failing grade from start to finish. I’m sure this is all baked into the horrific stigma that “Animation is for kids,” and therefore, kids shouldn’t see all the gays as that is “adult content.” Oh boy, do I have the article for you about why that’s wrong!

When it so often feels like prominent creators like Lucasfilm and Disney want to tiptoe around queer content and only do things that are “safe,” it was refreshing for me to hear directly from Sam Maggs that it was the company that wanted Merrin to be queer, not something of Maggs’ own creation. It gives me some hope that these big corporations see us more as people, not dollar signs to line their pockets in June.

If you want to see my entire thread of the Author’s Q&A from Dragon Con, click on the link to Twitter here. It was a great mix of voices, and it included Sam Maggs, Timothy Zahn, Delilah S. Dawson, Greg Keyes, Kevin J. Anderson, and Brian Young as the moderator. It was wonderful to hear Legends and current writers discuss their different perspectives on the franchise, but in the end, they all loved Star Wars.

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