Last week saw two major news items regarding LGBT characters in genre films. First, GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, released its 2016 Studio Responsibility Index which breaks down the representation of LGBT characters over the past year, studio by studio. Disney did not score highly but the report made a very clear suggestion that Star Wars: Episode VIII would be a great place to make up the difference. They mentioned that, “2015’s The Force Awakens has introduced a new and diverse central trio, which allows the creators opportunity to tell fresh stories as they develop their backstory.”
Some have taken this as a specific request to make the Finn/Poe relationship an actual thing, but it is probably more of a general suggestion. GLAAD pointed out that recent canonical Star Wars works included gay and lesbian characters. One of the best examples is from the Aftermath novels which serve to bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Sinjir Rath Velus, a former Imperial loyalty officer and a major supporting character in these books, is gay. Providing he survives latter two books, he would be an easy character to toss into Episode VII and bring in some much needed inclusion.
J.J. Abrams is definitely open to the idea of an inclusive universe. During the annual Oscar Wilde Awards, Abrams expressed his support when he said, “To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counter-intuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.” And speaking of directors addressing LGBT representation in their movies, in a recent Collider interview, the Russo Brothers responded to questions about the chances of an LGBT character appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“I think the chances are strong,” Joe Russo said, “I mean, it’s incumbent upon us as storytellers who are making mass-appeal movies to make mass-appeal movies, and to diversify as much as possible… I think it’s important that on all fronts, we keep pushing for diversification because then, the storytelling becomes more interesting, more rich, and more truthful.” Anthony Russo agreed, saying that with Marvel’s success, “it becomes easier to take risks.… So I think that’s very hopeful for all of us moving forward that bolder and bolder choices can be made.”
Several of the Young Avengers team are gay, and they might be fun to start introducing soon in the run up to a Young Avengers film. That is assuming, naturally, they wouldn’t just arbitrarily change the sexuality of another character (surprise, Wonder Man) as they adapted them to the MCU.
Which LGBT characters would you love introduced accurately to the MCU? How hard do you ship Finn and Poe? Let us know in the comments!
Feature Image Credit: Disney