Star Wars is about to get its first official gay person. Moff Mors, a character in Paul S. Kemp's upcoming Star Wars: Lords of the Sith novel, will become the first LGBT character in official Star Wars canon when the book is released in late April. Shelly Shapiro, editor at Star Wars book publisher Del Rey, confirmed the addition of the character during an interview on Big Shiny Robot's "Full of Sith" podcast. Mors, who is a lesbian, is described as an "incredibly capable" Imperial leader who spends much of the book working to prevent "absolute failure."
Moff Mors is a lesbian
Shapiro said that Mors will become the first officially recognized LGBT character in Star Wars canon, but noted that gay characters have been referenced in other media set in the galaxy far far away. Two male Mandalorians, Goran Beviin and Medrit Vasur, were married in Karen Traviss' Legacy of the Force books, and BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic video game, released in 2003, allowed for the possibility of same-sex relationships between the player and their AI companions.
Despite these nods, Star Wars has generally done a poor job of recognizing the existence of LGBT people — no openly gay characters appear in the movies, and the references to homosexual relationships that are present in the games and books can be skipped by the player or misinterpreted by the reader. The message was inconsistent, too: while BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic made same-sex relationships possible, spiritual successor The Old Republic only allowed for heterosexual relationships between players and AI characters at launch. On the game's official forums, BioWare censored the words "homosexual," "lesbian," and "gay," and community managers shut down topics discussing the issue of same-sex relationships, saying in 2009 that "these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars."
Game developer BioWare previously said "gay" was not a term that existed in Star Wars
BioWare went some way to making amends in 2013 with the release of The Old Republic's first expansion pack, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, which introduced Makeb — a new planet that offered the possibility for the player to pursue same-sex relationships. The developer was criticized for apparently shepherding all of the galaxy's gay people onto one planet, but the move at least countermanded the directive that LGBT people simply don't exist in a universe alongside pig-people, magic mountains, and genetically engineered talking Ewok pilots.
Mors' introduction and official recognition comes shortly after the entire Star Wars expanded universe was blown up. The hard reboot may have wiped away some 30 years of stories, but thankfully it also seems to be clearing Star Wars' strange blind spot for LGBT characters, and ushering in a new, more inclusive take on sci-fi's biggest series.