‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Cast Talks Girl Power, Diversity, And The First Female Villain

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is due to be released on December 18, which is less than a week away. To say fans of the franchise are excited would be an understatement.

It will be as epic as Star Wars but with a more modern representation of characters. First off, as the Sydney Morning Herald reports, there will be no Ewoks and no Jar Jar Binks. Apparently, this news was met with approval among the media and fan websites.

But something bigger than getting rid of unpopular characters is happening in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It is in this movie that Carrie Fisher hands over the reins to a new generation of women who have a much greater presence in the franchise than ever before. Entertainment Weekly reports that Fisher talked about her groundbreaking role as Princess Leia in the original film series.

“I am the beginning of girl power! Deal with it!”

John Boyega also speaks about his part in the movie, of being a real African-American presence as a black stormtrooper. He really doesn’t care about all the hype.

“I’ve got to be honest, I really don’t care about the black stormtrooper stuff. I [couldn’t] care less. This is a movie about human beings, about Wookiees, spaceships and TIE Fighters. It’s got an undercurrent of courage, a message of friendship and loyalty. I watched the movie with Kathy last week, and I really relate to Rey more than any of the characters. The circumstance to find something bigger than yourself is really important to me. In terms of the kids, all they’re going to be concentrated on is BB-8.”

So what about Daisy Ridley and her feelings about her character Rey? The Verge reports that she hopes her character can become a “symbol of empowerment” for women.

“[Rey] doesn’t have to be one thing to embody a woman in a film. And for me, she’s not important because she’s a woman. She’s just important. It just so happens that she’s a woman. She transcends gender. She’s going to speak to men and women, too.”

Gwendoline Christie, who plays Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, also had something to say for the greater diversity of the new movie.

“I think JJ has been open about the fact that he wanted to respect the origins of the films and celebrate them, but to bring them into the modern day, and confirmation of that seemed to be to me in this amazing character of Captain Phasma, who is Star Wars’ first on-screen female villain.”

Unfortunately, not everyone is accepting of the new diversity found in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Guardian reports that the Chinese poster for the new movie has minimized the image – and consequently the importance – of John Boyega’s character, stormtrooper Finn. In the North American poster, Boyega’s character is shown as one of the lead characters, but the Chinese poster shows a shrunken image that places him among the supporting characters. The poster also neglects to show Chewbacca, as well as other characters played by black people, such as Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata.

Regardless of what has been interpreted as racism in the Chinese representation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the cast of the film holds a lot of power in this early part of the 21st century. Being able to watch such diversity in the Star Wars franchise will be nothing short of a delight.

[Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images]