The Star Wars franchise is making strides when it comes to diversity in casting. Talented actors such as Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac had prominent roles in last year’s Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, while this December’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story features the likes of Forest Whitaker and Donnie Yen. It’s great to see one of the biggest properties in Hollywood break the traditional mold, but some feel that Lucasfilm could go even further in regards to being inclusive.
Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams made headlines recently when he remarked that it would be “incredibly narrow-minded” if future Star Wars movies did not have gay characters. It remains to be seen if the studio will ever go in that direction, but fans are already discussing the possibilities, envisioning Finn and Poe Dameron as a couple. Now Mark Hamill has weighed in, suggesting that his own Luke Skywalker could be a homosexual.
In an interview with The Sun, Hamill talked about Abrams’ comments about gay characters in Star Wars, revealing that he’s frequently asked about Luke’s sexuality:
“I just read online that J.J. is very much open to that. In the old days, you would get fan mail. But now fans are writing and asking all these questions: ‘I’m bullied in school … I’m afraid to come out.’ They say to me: ‘Could Luke be gay?’ I’d say it is meant to be interpreted by the viewer. If you think Luke is gay, of course he is. You should not be ashamed of it. Judge Luke by his character, not by who he loves.”
It should be noted that Luke was not written as a gay character in the original trilogy. He obviously was attracted to Princess Leia before learning the harrowing truth that Leia is his sister, and the theory of Luke being Rey’s father is one of the more prevalent beliefs about the new films. Should Star Wars bring in someone gay, the chances of it being Luke are low. It’s nice of Hamill to say that it’s up to the interpretation of the moviegoer, but the way Luke’s been presented in the films thus far heavily implies he is a heterosexual.
That said, with Hamill’s words in mind, Luke could end up being bisexual, should the filmmakers choose to explore that topic. Granted, that sort of revelation may not have a natural place in the narrative as Luke trains Rey in Star Wars 8, but it is not out of the question at this juncture. Some of the new Star Wars canon novels have included gay characters, so a precedent for the franchise has already been set. Odds are, fans will probably see the films follow suit sooner or later – whether it’s Luke, Poe, or an entirely new individual. As Abrams said, inclusivity is one of the goals here, so it would be shortsighted to undercut a particular group.
At the same token, romance and sexuality are not elements the Star Wars films tackle all the time. Yes, there are love stories that tend to pop up every now and then (Han and Leia; Anakin and Padmé), but the movies are exciting space adventures first that rely more on action set pieces. Star Wars 7 very easily could have forced something between Rey and Finn, but left the pair as just friends. So even if a Star Wars character is gay, it may not be broadcasted up front unless it serves an aspect of the story being told. In that case, Hamill’s statement definitely rings true. If a fan thinks a character could be homosexual, then there’s no reason why they can’t be.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens will be released on Blu-ray April 5, 2016; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16th, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: The Sun