April 14, 2024

J.J. Abrams, director of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” made the comment that there is a possibility of an LGBT character in future episodes of the franchise. This would be a first for the “Star Wars” series.

Differing opinions emerged from fans after the announcement was made at the U.S.-Ireland Alliance’s annual Oscar Wilde Awards, held at the headquarters of Abram’s production company, Bad Robot, where he was also hosting.

“To me, the fun of ‘Star Wars’ is the glory of possibility,” Abrams said at the awards. “So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.”

Abrams expressed his desire for diversity in film with the recent #OscarsSoWhite controversy. He said he wants inclusivity, which does not exclude LGBT characters.

Dr. Jim Buchholz, professor of mathematics and physics and board member of the Riverside International Film Festival, said since “Star Wars” is a large studio production versus an independent film, they are expected to create what will produce the most revenue and draw the largest audience. This move may be promoting diversity and inclusion or it may just be a move to gain more viewers.

“If you are trying to just meet a certain audience, it may work, but are you producing a better movie?” Buchholz said.

Zach Long, junior graphic design major, expressed his concern for how the new change will be received by fans who grew up when the original trilogy was released.

“The move would seem like more of a distraction from the ‘Star Wars’ feel, making the movies about political statements instead of their traditional intention: sharing great stories about the struggle between good and evil in far away worlds,” Long said.

The lead actors of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” featured the first female jedi, a black stormtrooper and a Hispanic pilot, giving this generation of fans a more diverse group of strong role models that resemble them.

“It seems like now, the gay community is really prevalent, opposed to in the ’70s when the original trilogy came out,” said John Schriver, freshman history major. “It would be good for there to be a role model of their sexual identity.”

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