June 26, 2015 – The combination of children and school playgrounds can make for a very rough, crude and mean environment – rougher than any galactic cantina. The schoolyard is where the innocence of childhood runs smack into the real world of school bullies, physical intimidation and verbal taunts.
“Star Wars – that’s so gay!” (or insert any other target of abuse) is one of several unfortunate slurs used by children and the insecure to hurt others. “You’re such a _______” (choose one: “nerd”, “geek”, “dork”, “nerfherder”).
Decades later, it turns out the schoolyard bullies and hatemongers might have been prescient, but in unknowing ways. Star Wars is about ready to show off its rainbow colors.
The Star Wars universe is opening room for a little more diversity with its first offically-recognized gay character. And no, we’re not talking about the genteel-sounding C-3PO or Ziro the Hutt.
The new novel Lords of the Sith , by Paul S. Kemp, will feature an Imperial official named Moff Mors who “also happens to be a lesbian.” According to Shelly Shapiro, editor of “Star Wars” books at Random House imprint Del Rey Books, the character will be the first gay figure in the official Star Wars universe. Lords of the Sith is now available on Amazon and elsewhere.
Shapiro told BigShinyRobot.com, “There’s a lot of diversity; there should be diversity in Star Wars. You have all these different species, and it would be silly to not also recognize that there’s a lot of diversity in humans.”
But is Moff Mors really the first Star Wars character with a same-sex attraction? While a previous Star Wars book series and a few video games have featured gay relationships, these are considered part of the Expanded Universe. According to Disney, they are now reclassified as “Legends” and, therefore, are not canon.
A useful list of what’s considered Star Wars canon can be found HERE. The wookiepedia list provides a comprehensive roster of all Star Wars media (movies, novels, comics, video games, etc.), including their release date. If it’s not on the list, then it’s not part of the official Star Wars timeline or officially recognized characters.
When the original Star Wars movie (1977) came out (excuse the pun), nobody raised an eyebrow over its largely all-male, all-white cast. That was the norm for the time.
But the introduction of more minority actors and characters reflects a growing awareness of diversity, both here on earth and in our imaginary galaxy far, far away. Think: Billie Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian); Samuel L. Jakson (Mace Windu); Jimmy Smits (Bail Organa).
The Force Awakens will introduce more diverse actors and characters, including John Boyega (renegade stormtrooper Finn) and others rumored, but not yet confirmed. And maybe, just maybe, we will have a strong female protagonist lead the charge.
Of course, not everyone is interested or concerned. Younger generations collectively shrug their shoulders and say, “What difference does a person’s race, gender or sexual orientation make?” And they are absolutely right.
And in light of today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges, which you can read the full court opinion HERE), the world has changed and so will Star Wars with it. The universe is so big and so diverse, could it be any other way?