Is Mark Hamill's Tweet A Response To Star Wars: Episode VII's Diversity Issue?
The casting announcement for Star Wars: Episode VII came and went with a huge cry of excitement. Oh who are we kiddingÖ it came, and it still hasnít gone because thereís a lot to speculate over. After all, these are only the major roles that have been cast, and we have no clue what awaits in the future of the supporting cast. However, the film is already being called out on something that was going to be mentioned sooner or later: the supposed lack of diversity. Depending on who you talk to, this is either a huge problem or a very early reaction. Annalee Lewitz of io9 thinks itís a problem, but Mark Hamill doesnít seem to be that worried.
In a tweet sent last night, Hamill had this to say about his new co-stars:
On its own, this tweet seems to be rather innocuous. But could it be in reaction to the newly minted backlash to the implied lack of female leads in the film? After all, Ms. Lewitzís piece went up on io9 the day of the big announcement. One of her main arguments hews very closely to a problem Disneyís already been dealing with in its own portrayals of gender roles:
"I'm stunned that Kasdan and Abrams' imaginations appear to have failed where the many authors of the EU didn't. Why not invent new female characters? It's not as if having a gender-balanced EU drove fans away."
Does Mark Hamill look like heís responding to this issue directly? No, he doesnít. Itís just one remark that is in sore need of context. Are Annalee Lewitzís arguments unjustified? They most certainly arenít. The Star Wars universe has grown in leaps and bounds with characters of all sorts, but it still hasnít committed that diversity to the franchise proper. Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, thereís one thing that needs to be front and center with every debate on this matter: weíre far from seeing the full picture that is Star Wars: Episode VII.
Between another female lead in the process of casting, and a lack of just where the focus of the story lies, we donít know how much of a problem this film is going to have with diversity. Not to mention, we donít know the quality of the female roles in the script, which means that thereís still room for a bigger female contingent to be nothing more than love-struck love interests with little to no ass kicking involved. (Padme, weíre looking in your direction.)
The quality, as well as the quantity, of female roles in the Star Wars universe can still turn out to be a rich, new universe that boys and girls alike will dream of inhabiting. Maybe Mark Hamill sees that potential, and knows something we donít know. Either way, it sounds like heís more excited to be back in the saddle than to start a fight over gender roles. For now, itís best to keep a watchful eye, and see what happens next. Star Wars: Episode VII will be released December 18th, 2015.
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