Is There A Gay Character In The New Star Wars Movie?
Star Wars? More like Star Bores! Just kidding. Star Wars is great! And incredibly profitable. But is Disney brave enough to feature a queer character in the genre-defining space opera?
This is precisely what Hypable ponders in a piece about badass pilot Poe Dameron, one of the new protagonists introduced in Episode VII. The article focuses on a very subtle comment made by actor Oscar Isaac in an interview with Ellen Degeneres:
“I think it’s very subtle romance that’s happening [in the new film]," says Isaac. "You know, you have to just look very close — you have to watch it a few times to see the little hints. But there was.”
Sure, the author argues, Isaac was probably commenting on the budding relationship between Finn and Rey, but what if something less straight is going on?
This kind of thing is certainly fun to think about, but let's be real: Poe Dameron probably isn't gay. In fact, probably no one in any of the new Star Wars movies will be explicitly or openly queer.
The Star Wars franchise only recently introduced its first openly queer character in an obscure book in the Expanded Universe series. The introduction of Moff Mars, an Imperial officer who also happened to be a lesbian, was met with celebration from the LGBT community and somewhat tepid enthusiasm (and, of course, a healthy dose of internet ire) from the Star Wars fandom. Along the same vien, the possibility of including gay relationships in the Star Wars video games was met with considerable controversy.
The fact of the matter is this: Star Wars is owned by Disney, and there isn't too much incentive and/or profit to be made from including a gay character. It would be a politically nice gesture at best -- but politically nice gestures don't always translate to big bucks. Disney faced considerable backlash this year by simply introducing leads who were not white and not male: would they risk alienating mainstream audiences even further by including a queer? While action figures of Rey and Finn can be expertly marketed to black and female children, a gay character simply doesn't have the same toyetic quality -- parents probably wouldn't buy their kids the one queer action figure in solidarity with LGBTs.
Star Wars is simply meant for massive appeal, and it's unlikely that anyone would do anything to jeopordize that.
Sure, I'd love to be proven wrong. But let's temper our expectations a little bit.