Star Wars fans have set up a petition calling for Kathleen Kennedy and Bob Iger to introduce an LGBT character in Episode 8, following this month’s tragedy in Orlando.
The petition, set up by Joshua Yehl suggests that the writers memorialise Christian Andrew ‘Drew’ Leinonen, a victim from the tragedy as a character in the film. The petition reads: “While Star Wars is a sci-fi fantasy world with bizarre aliens and hulking monsters, it still features characters just like us,” he writes. “After A New Hope, steps were taken to expand and diversify the cast, giving us the smooth-talking Lando Calrissian and Rebel pilots played by people of colour.”
Yehl’s petition, which also refers to Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams’ quotes on equality continues to say: “The tradition of making Star Wars more inclusive continued with the casting of Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn, the main protagonists of The Force Awakens. It’s my hope that Star Wars will take another step forward by introducing their first-ever LGBT character in a movie.”
Yehl continued: “It’s vitally important that LGBT people are included in mainstream media because it will show that we don’t need to be feared or hated or hidden,” before finishing that “I can’t put it any better than that. Now is the time to act. Trust your feelings.”
While this seems progressive on paper, it seems disappointing that it requires a massive tragedy for action like this to take place. On the other hand, it would be a big and important step forward for equality, and for a brand like Star Wars to do it would be immensely powerful.
Star Wars: Episode 8 is due out on 15th December 2017. Watch the trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One below: