Recent years have seen pop culture take major strides in representation as more races, genders, sexual orientations, and cultures being to be included in the latest projects. In many ways, these strides have accompanied a similar evolution in the wider world which has only become more tolerant, understanding, and inclusive in recent years.
The galaxy far, far away has yet to establish an LGBTQIA+ character on the big screen, with all of its representation being on the page. Star Wars only introduced its first canonically LGBTQIA+ character in 2015 as the Imperial Delian Mors was revealed to be a lesbian with a wife in Paul S Kemp’s novel Lords of the Sith.
Now, as this year's Pride Month rolls around, Star Wars has chosen to celebrate the occasion but has unfortunately been forced to speak out against hate comments.
Star Wars Fights LGBTQ+ Hate Speech
Lucasfilm and Marvel teamed up to celebrate this year's Pride Month with a line of Star Wars comic covers starring LGBTQIA+ characters by artists from the community. The official Star Wars Twitter account shared Jan Bazaldua’s cover for Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #24, which hit shelves today, and received criticism for its Pride celebration.
One Twitter user called for Lucasfilm to not "make Star Wars political," which received a stern response from the official account as they noted two main arguments. The Star Wars representative argued that representation is not political, while also pointing out that the franchise's name is inherently political:
"1. Queer characters existing isn’t political.
2. Star WARS is literally in our name."
Throughout the month, Marvel will publish Pride-inspired Star Wars comic covers for Star Wars #25, Bounty Hunters #24, Obi-Wan #2, Darth Vader #24, The Mandalorian #1, Han Solo & Chewbacca #4, and Doctor Aphra #22. Each of these covers features LGBTQIA+ characters and is designed by artists from the community, but not all the characters presented are necessarily involved with the comic's story.
The Mandalorian #1 design stars Vi Moradi, a Resistance spy from the sequel trilogy's expanded universe material.
Darth Vader #24's variant cover features several female characters from the prequel trilogy, something that artist Kei Zama was excited by:
"I’m excited to be celebrating Pride Month with Star Wars! For real, I’m definitely a big fan of the prequel trilogy; I have such a special fondness for Episodes I to III, so drawing characters from The Phantom Menace for this cover was a very cool experience.”
Does Star Wars Have a Hate Speech Problem?
Following the premiere episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Reva actress Moses Ingram was bombarded with hatred towards her character, and even racist comments directed at her personally. Ingram was quick to defend herself on Instagram, while both the official Star Wars Twitter account and lead actor Ewan McGregor also came to her aid.
Having just recently endured racist comments and now anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiments, one can only begin to wonder if the Star Wars community has a problem when it comes to hate speech. There is no justification for the hatred and abuse that is being targeted at those involved with the franchise, as the representation of more groups only helps move the franchise forward.
In the modern era, many are frequently quick to refer to representation as "political," but diversity does not in any way take a political stance. By representing more groups and cultures, Star Wars only becomes more open to more people, as every viewer should be able to see themselves in a character in the galaxy far, far away.
After all, in a franchise filled with aliens and laser swords, what's so crazy about there being more than one race, gender, and sexual orientation?