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We live in a diverse world, and slowly but surely our entertainment has evolved to represent this fact. One film that received a good deal of praise for its diverse casting was Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which had a black man and a woman as two of its lead characters. However, GLAAD is calling on the franchise to take its inclusivity one step further and bring gay characters into Star Wars: Episode VIII .
GLAAD recently compiled a studio responsibility index which looks at how each major movie studio handled gay characters in 2015. Variety reports that Disney was one of only two studios, Paramount being the other, that did not include any gay characters in their films last year. GLAAD would like to see Disney rectify this oversight and they feel Disney has a unique opportunity to do so through Star Wars.
As sci-fi projects have the special opportunity to create unique worlds whose advanced societies can serve as a commentary on our own, the most obvious place where Disney could include LGBT characters is in the upcoming eighth ‘Star Wars’ film
For what it’s worth, the odds of the Star Wars franchise doing exactly this seem pretty high. Just a couple of months ago, J.J. Abrams, director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the executive producer of the franchise, specifically stated that gay characters would be part of the inclusivity which the franchise was trying to achieve. There have been no specific statements regarding when or how these characters would be included, so we don’t know whether or not they’ll be part of Star Wars: Episode VIII. It’s possible they could show up sooner, as part of this year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, since we know very little about these characters. Another option, though a less likely one, is that the franchise's first gay characters could be ones that we’ve already met in The Force Awakens. There were no romantic subplots dealing with any of the new characters, which makes the sexuality of any of them an open question.
Disney is generally viewed as an inclusive company, so much so that it's surprising that none of their films last year included any gay characters at all. This makes it unlikely they would voice any objection to gay characters in Star Wars. Earlier this year they threatened to cease filming at Pinewood Studios in Georgia after a bill that could have been used to discriminate against homosexuals was passed by the Georgia legislature. The governor ended up vetoing the bill.
It seems like it's inevitable that gay characters will become part of Star Wars. The only real question looks to be when it will happen. Advocates would certainly like to see it happen as soon as possible.