Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams has recently revealed that he is excited about the prospect of having gay characters in the Star Wars universe. Abrams’ comments, though made a little over a week ago, seem reawakened following Mark Hamill’s suggestion that Luke Skywalker’s sexuality is open for interpretation.
“When I talk about inclusivity its not excluding gay characters, it’s about inclusivity so of course. To me the fun of ‘Star Wars’ is exploring the possibilities, so it seems insanely narrow minded to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world,” Abrams said, according to Business Standard.
— Screen Rant (@screenrant) March 5, 2016
Certainly, Abrams’ efforts to make the Star Wars universe as inclusive as possible have not gone unnoticed. With the universe’s first female Jedi in the character of Rey, and two costars of color with the characters of Finn and Poe Dameron, played by John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, the Star Wars universe in the 21st century is now looking very similar to the world around us.
When it comes to issues of sexuality, even Mark Hamill has come out and said that the sexuality of Star Wars’ most prominent Jedi is open to interpretation.
“I’d say it is meant to be interpreted by the viewer,” Hamill said, according to Daily Mail. “If you think Luke is gay, of course he is. You should not be ashamed of it. Judge Luke by his character, not by who he loves.”
Hamill said that he had been asked by fans whether or not the character of Luke Skywalker was gay and added that he had received letters from fans over the years who were looking for ways to connect to the character due to the personal trauma they were going through. Abrams’ portrayal of the Star Wars universe has been widely praised for its diversity.
Abrams also noted, according to Daily Beast, that he was still quite shocked that conversations about inclusivity and diversity still had to occur.
“We all need to do better to represent this world,” he said. “It’s something that is important to me, and is something that we’re focusing on at [production company] Bad Robot.”
The Star Wars universe has actually embraced diversity more in print than on screen. Entertainment Weekly reports that Star Wars: Aftermath features Imperial defector Sinjir Rath Velus and Lords of the Sith has Moff Delian Mors as part of its cast of LGBT characters. However, fans have shipped a relationship between Poe Dameron and Finn ever since Star Wars: The Force Awakens bowed on December 18, 2015.
Abrams said recently that conversations about diversity and inclusivity are occurring more and more behind closed doors in Hollywood, and it’s a conversation that he is glad to see occurring.
“It’s in private meetings, it’s in private phone calls, it’s in interviews,” he said. “I know that this will happen. I know it will. Not just on camera but behind the camera.”
Abrams has also said that when writing for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was happening, he was not entirely sure how he wanted Rey, Finn, or Poe to look, but that he wanted each of the three main characters to be reflective of the world that audiences would see around them.
— Chip and Company (@chipandcompany) March 6, 2016
“Writing this script with Larry Kasdan, I didn’t know what Rey was going to look like, I didn’t know what Finn or Poe would look like,” Abrams said, according to People. “I just knew that this movie needed to look the way the world looks.”
Filming for Star Wars: Episode VIII is well under way without Abrams at the helm, although he is staying on as executive producer for the film franchise.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]