There is little doubt that Star Wars: The Force Awakens helped diversify the Star Wars movie universe. By casting John Boyega and Daisy Ridley as its two main protagonists, it not only opened new story possibilities, but also drew the ire of a small but vocal contingent of fans who like their stormtroopers white and their Jedis to have a Y chromosome.
Detractors aside, the movie’s inclusiveness means the franchise now has broader appeal to more people. There is always the opportunity to be more inclusive, though; for instance, by adding an openly gay character into the mix. According to The Force Awakens director J. J. Abrams, that just might happen.
The Daily Beast reports that while hosting the US-Ireland Alliance’s annual Oscar Wilde Awards at his Bad Robot HQ, Abrams responded enthusiastically to a question about whether or not his push for diversity in the Star Wars universe included the potential for gay characters:
“Of course! When I talk about inclusivity it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course. I would love it. 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.”
As to whether or not said gay characters could be existing characters from Star Wars 7 or entirely new characters, Abrams did not say. Some fans have (enthusiastically) noted the closeness between Poe Dameron and Finn in Star Wars 7 and drawn their own conclusions (and/or written their own fan fiction). Of course, that is just one fan theory, and an argument could just as easily be made about Finn and Rey being an item, given their closeness throughout the movie. Plus there are other characters whose sexual orientation is yet to be determined, and in the case of BB-8 we’re still not sure if the rolling robot is a “boy” or a “girl”.
It is worth noting that Abrams is not writing or directing the next two Star Wars installments. Instead, Episode VIII will be written and directed by Rian Johnson and Episode IX will be directed by Colin Trevorrow. That said, he has certainly helped guide the franchise and has inside knowledge about where it will be going in the future, so it is still worth listening to what he has to say. While not everyone may be in favor of increased diversity in cinema in general or Star Wars in particular, it is has nonetheless been a topic of intense conversation as of late and is something that audiences are paying attention to. There is also precedent in the expanded Star Wars universe of the novels for gay characters as well. With those things in mind, there’s certainly hope that Abrams might get his wish.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, 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 Daily Beast