Okay so this following piece is my opinion and no one else’s. It’s sort of a revelation I had a few weeks back while listening to one of the many Star Wars podcasts on my ITunes playlist. It’s a revelation I had on the topic of diversity and equal representation in the Star Wars galaxy.
For decades, the only woman protagonist in Star Wars was Princess Leia. No doubt, Leia was and still is a strong female character. She stood up to Vader and Tarkin while they made her watch as they destroyed her home. In the face of that tragedy she was still strong enough to stay the course and keep up the fight against the Empire. Leia is the one to find an escape route aboard the Death Star, albeit inside a trash compactor. She led the evacuation during the Imperial assault on Hoth, watched helplessly while her future husband was frozen in carbonite, and fought fearlessly during the Battle of Endor to destroy the Death Star’s shield generator. Including many of the heroic battles (politically and otherwise) Leia was involved with in the books and comics, it could be argued that she is the strongest character in the original trilogy, if not the entire saga.
Starting with the prequel trilogy the influx of new female leads has spiked with characters such as Padme Amidala, Ahsoka Tano, Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, Rey (insert last name here in December 2017), and soon to be Jyn Erso. Okay that’s a good start, but it’s not enough. The world is 51% female. Yet the Star Wars galaxy comprises of less than 40% female characters. Don’t worry I have taken notice of some very cool new female characters in the books, namely, Rae Sloane; I think we all can agree that she needs her owns story. Ciena Ree is another from the awesome novel Lost Stars. I’m drawing a blank after that so if I’m forgetting anyone let me know. That’s the problem; I shouldn’t have to think this hard about who are some strong female characters. And just curious, why is it when I google women in Star Wars do I always get scantily clad women in Stormtrooper outfits? They don’t dress like that in the movies. On a little side-note, I am happy to see Marvel/Lucasfilm are putting out a comic series about Doctor Aphra this December.
My next topic I wanted to talk about is the issue with diversity. First of all I want to say I am 1000% for as much diversity as possible. It’s a large galaxy, the more diversity the better. It just makes sense. Okay so during DragonCon last month I was listening to a live podcast episode by Tosche Station. They were hosting a diversity panel, and it was quite an eye opener for me.
Whether this is the proper way to think or not, but by the time the episode ended, I actually felt guilty for being white. I’m sorry if that’s the wrong sort of feeling I should’ve had, but I’m being honest—that’s how I felt. The next day I went to work and spoke about this to a friend, who’s not a Star Wars fan, but regardless he is a responsible adult who is white and about in his mid-50s. I told him the same feelings I had, and his reaction was something I can’t repeat here. He went on to say, and I’m paraphrasing, that he’s never once thought about diversity in a movie, and why does it matter? Once he uttered those words a light went off in my head. We’ve never thought about it because we’ve never had to. This is something I have to work better at, by seeing things from a different perspective.
That’s pretty much all I have to say right now, I just really wanted to get that off my chest. I am proud that Lucasfilm is doing something to change the demographic a little. It just proves to me, the progressiveness at Lucasfilm is always leading the charge to make sure that equal representation is always a goal to reach for.
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!