Does director J.J. Abrams think there's a place for gay characters in the Star Wars universe? At the Oscar Wilde Awards on Thursday night, his answer was clear: "Of course!" He continued, "When I talk about inclusivity, it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course." The awards — designed to honor Irish movie and TV figures — were held at the offices of Abrams' Bad Robot production company in Santa Monica.
Abrams continued to expand on his comments on inclusivity in the Star Wars universe, according to The Daily Beast, saying, "I would love it ... To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world."
It makes a whole lot of sense that the galaxy far, far away could not possibly exclude LGBT characters considering the incredible diversity across all sorts of alien species. But that hasn't stopped the franchise from having a limited and outdated view of humanity. Until The Force Awakens, main characters have overwhelmingly been white males, and homosexuality has been entirely overlooked in the films.
Officially, the Star Wars canon did not get its first openly gay character until Paul S. Kemp's 2015 book The Lords of the Sith. Later that year, another book in the universe, Aftermath by author Chuck Wendig, revealed its main character to be gay. Unfortunately, the character's sexuality — like the casting of actor John Boyega as a black stormtrooper in The Force Awakens — led to some ugly backlash online from a certain subset of Star Wars fans.
Abrams has relinquished directorial duties for the next Star Wars films after The Force Awakens, but he's executive producing the next two installments. Hopefully his comments reflect a Star Wars universe that will continue to provide a more inclusive representation of humankind.