J.J. Abrams will have gay characters in Star Wars: ‘we need to do better’

Star Wars: The Force Awakens writer and director, J.J. Abrams, presented the Best Director award at the Oscars on Sunday. J.J., also known for Alias, Lost and the most recent Star Trek franchise, took over the Star Wars universe from George Lucas for episode VII. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. championed a multitude of strong, diverse characters, notably the leads Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. J.J. is currently working on episode VIII and promises that the Star Wars universe can – and will – encompass more diversity including gay characters:

Now that Daisy Ridley’s Rey and John Boyega’s Finn have given the Star Wars franchise its first female Jedi and black lead, respectively, does its fearless director J.J. Abrams see a future for a gay character in the galaxy?

“Of course!” Abrams said Thursday night at his Bad Robot HQ, where he hosted the US-Ireland Alliance’s annual Oscar Wilde Awards ahead of Sunday’s Oscars, where The Force Awakens is nominated in five categories. “When I talk about inclusivity it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course.”

By Abrams’ logic, the sprawling Star Wars universe couldn’t possibly exist without a gay populace—even if we haven’t seen a single character identified as gay thus far. “I would love it,” he said. “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.”

Amid the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, Abrams has been vocal about the need for Hollywood to not just talk about but take action in the name of diversity.

“I think we all have a hell of a lot to do, and I think it is insane to me that we still have to have a conversation about inclusivity. It’s shameful,” he told The Daily Beast last month. “We all need to do better to represent this world. It’s something that is important to me, and is something that we’re focusing on at [production company] Bad Robot.

[From The Daily Beast]

Existing Star Wars novels, such as Paul Kemp’s Lords of the Sith and Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath, already have homosexual characters so the groundwork is there. Of course, the internet is calling for a FinnPoe confirmation. Whereas I am all for Boyega’s Finn and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron to become an official romance, I would very much like to request a new moniker for the couple.

J.J. went on to say that discussions about inclusivity are already happening, “It’s in private meetings, it’s in private phone calls, it’s in interviews. I know that this will happen. I know it will. Not just on camera but behind the camera.” From his lips to Hollywood’s ears.

Mini Alias reunion at the VF party with JJ, Jennifer Garner and Vincent Garber, posted by Garber’s husband Rainer Andreesen

@vanityfair #vanityfairoscarparty @jjabrams #badrobot #jengarner @therealvictorgarber

A photo posted by Rainer Andreesen (@rainerarts) on

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Photo Credit: Getty Images, WENN and FameFlynet Photos

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80 Responses to “J.J. Abrams will have gay characters in Star Wars: ‘we need to do better’”

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  1. Melody says:

    Because his CoS friends will just *love* that…

  2. GlimmerBunny says:

    Well, I’m all for Finn and Poe if it opens up the possibility of a Reylo pairing (yeah, I know he’s a villain but Adam and Daisy have great chemistry!)

    • JENNA says:

      Yeah, their scenes together were definitely the best.

      • polonoscopy says:

        Yeah, except they are CLEARLY first cousins. Rey is totally Luke’s daughter. I’m calling it.

      • Kate says:

        Sorry but I think Rey is a Kenobi. Still don’t want her and Kylo getting together, though. I like her and Finn. Poe and Kylo?

    • Mia4s says:

      Rey and Kylo are going to be related….but apparently I’ve been told that’s no barrier to Internet “shippers”? Ewwwwwww.

      Finn and Poe aren’t happening either. I’m sorry but Disney wants these movies to average about $2 billion each. That means you need every country on board. Sadly we all know there are many many countries not on board with gay leads.

      • GlimmerBunny says:

        I think Rey being Luke’s daughter is WAY too obvious. I think she’s gonna be related to Obi-Wan Kenobi, or just a total unknown (why does all the heroes in this series have to be Skywalkers anyways?)

        But I think you might be right about Stormpilot not happening because of the conservative countries.

      • Mia4s says:

        Of course she’s Luke’s daughter. These films are not rocket science. Kathleen Kennedy has said the main films are about the Skywalker family. It’s a space opera.

        Kenobi? Convoluted and silly. There is no gap there. Oh he believed in the Jedi code! Well, sort of. We saw his life up to his death, but forgot to tell you all this other stuff and oh all this other stuff about a kid he had…and then that kid….ughhhhh. Terrible writing. Show don’t tell. If she’s a Skywalker, you can show.

        She’s not random. That’s clear. You hide her last name for it to be revealed as Rey….SMITH!! That’s Phantom Menace bad writing.

        Why are some people against a young woman being handed arguably the most famous science fiction/fantasy legacy (Skywalker)? It better not be for the sake of some imagined romance with a violent, mentally disturbed, father-murderer. What an awful thought.

      • Petunia says:

        I don’t understand this “chemistry” between Rey and Kylo people saw. She seemed outright disgusted at him, and his fascination with her bordered on the creepy . Even if they’re not cousins, which seems unlikely, I’d hate to see Rey paired off with someone as screwed up as Ren. How about she doesn’t end up with anyone? Let her be the big damb hero without the obligatory love interest.

      • sauvage says:

        I think there’s also the possibility that Rey is Leia and Han’s daughter; only they hid her once they realised that their son was going bad.

      • Mia4s says:

        Sorry @Sauvage, I cannot see any way she is a Solo. Scuttlebut is that several of the actresses auditioned and at least one of the finalists were mixed-ethnicity. (See several of the young women with small roles in the movie). Half Caucasian /Half something else. Fine for Luke’s daughter because we don’t know Mom, but pretty damn impossible for Han/Leia!

    • AJ says:

      The hottest part of their chemistry was when they alluded to rape by having him violate her mind and say rapey things to her woo hoo SOOOOOOOOOOO Sexy!!!11

      (That’s sarcasm. Reylo shippers kill me and not in a good way.)

      I prefer Stormpilot to FinnPoe. I wish they would make Luke canonically gay.

    • Wood Dragon says:

      Why do any of these lead characters HAVE to be in a romantic relationship with each other in the first place? Why can’t they just become good friends and allies…and preferably JEDIS together? Frankly this whole ‘shipping’ business feels forced and I would be perfectly happy just watching them all being great platonic friends and facing their challenges together, like the Three (Four) Musketeers (especially the guys from the Richard Lester version).

  3. Betti says:

    I ship #PoeFinn but i also ship #RyFinn too ;) LOL

  4. JENNA says:

    I think the official ship name is Stormpilot lol.

  5. Alex says:

    Well if Finnrey doesn’t happen then bring on the ship that is Stormpilot!
    I love JJ and what he did with Star Wars so carry on

  6. L says:

    Well, I’ve always believed R2D2 and C3PO were a couple so…

    • Naya says:

      They absolutely loathe each other in real life right? (The original actors I mean)

    • Miss M says:

      HahahahHHa

    • M.A.F. says:

      Me too. Longest relationship anyone has had in that universe.

    • Hudson Girl says:

      Ha ha ha… Thank you for saying that.
      I wasn’t sure about them being together but, I as a kid I always assumed that C3PO was gay, which I thought was totally cool and his choice.
      Now, I’m sitting here as an adult scratching my head wondering why I ascribed sexuality to a robot?! LOL.

  7. Naya says:

    Just two things. Firstly, hopefully it wont be secondary characters with almost no screen time and secondly, I think it would be lazy to make them male seeing as the go-to for gay characters is always male. It wouldnt kill the world to have a smart depiction of a gay woman, with the extra bonus that you have another major female character in the plot. Maybe that will help convince the fanboys that see these films that lesbians do not exist for their erotic pleasure nor do they “cure” as easily as p0rn suggests.

    • Trixie says:

      I agree with you I’d be great if the character was a woman.

    • Mia4s says:

      As I said above, it won’t be leads. Too many countries not OK with that and these are meant to be billion dollar blockbusters. Safe and generic is the name of the game. A black and female lead are as revolutionary as this is going to get for the foreseeable future. Side or alien characters maybe. I hate that a very vague response is creating a false impression for some people who might be legitimately hopefully. For all we know he was referring to the books.

    • Elizabeth says:

      What about Phasma?

      • Wendy says:

        Eh, I think it would annoy me if it were Phasma…obvious and stereotype since she doesn’t fit the delicate female mold.

  8. Trixie says:

    I like JJ. I think he did a great job with the first Star Trek reboot, and his Star Wars was a good way to relaunch the franchise (though it did have some flaws).

    PS. Will someone please explain why people “ship” two (seemingly straight) male characters – like Poe and Finn, Captain America and Bucky, Sherlock and Watson? I don’t get it.

    • grabbyhands says:

      Some people ship those pairings because it is more representative of their life. Unfortunately, most shippers are a very vocal group of (usually) straight women who insist that there is gay subtext in all pairings (usually male) and that if you don’t agree you’re a homophobe. It is the reason I had to separate myself from the Sherlock fandom-JohnLock shippers are the worst and the hivemind will descend on you if you dare disagree that Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t write them as a gay couple.

      • Petunia says:

        Sometimes shipping gets out of control period, no matter what type of couple is being shipped. I’ve seen shipping turn fandoms into hostile places. At this point, I’m over shipping characters and fighting over it with other fans. People get so obsessive over their favorite pairings that they can’t handle a) others disagreeing or b) freak out if/when the couple has no chance of happening.

      • Wood Dragon says:

        And thus you get so much bad fan fiction out there: people extrapolating relationships, etc., between such aforementioned fictional characters, and who then feel threatened by the fact those characters do not belong to them in the end. They can’t dictate their evolution, romantic and otherwise, to those who are in charge of these figures and the source material they came from, so they act out on the internet. I know someone who only writes fan fiction. She is a good writer, but she is incapable of attempting to come up with her own characters and world…and it is frustrating to witness.
        I don’t think Arthur Conan Doyle saw his two main characters as lovers, nor do I think the gang at Marvel saw the same thing going on between Bucky and Captain America, especially since Bucky started off being a kid, ya know?
        This whole shipping business gay/straight/whatever/wherever gives me the creeps to be honest. It’s obsessive to start with, then you throw in the internet…

    • Kitten says:

      You should check out 11.22.63-JJ Abrams’s Hulu miniseries with James Franco. It’s f*cking bomb so far.

      • Portugal the Stan says:

        I love James Franco.

      • Kitten says:

        DUDE.
        You and I will sit in Shame Corner together. I’m not proud to admit that I find him SO effin’ attractive on 11.22.63
        Oh, and the Scion commercial? SMOKIN. I also happen to think he’s an excellent actor. But when he smiles, his whole face lights up..it’s so cute.

        I’m sorry everyone. I understand if you hate me but I’m just being honest: I love me some Franco.

    • AJ says:

      ” I don’t get it. ”

      That. That’s why we do it. Because straight people are EVERYWHERE in pop culture and we are nowhere and my god, y’all are so clueless and tiresome.

      • Trixie says:

        Huh? I have no problem with people who are gay, and I have no problem with characters who are gay – I never said that I did. I just don’t understand why (mostly) straight women “ship” straight male characters as a gay couple.

      • AJ says:

        @Trixie That was not what you said. Scroll up. And I still answered your question — the answer doesn’t change just because your question does. But I’m not surprised since like I said, straight people are clueless and tiresome.

  9. Emma - The JP Lover says:

    Am I really the only one who doesn’t believe the film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was all that? I thought the script was weak, the acting (except for Harrison Ford and Daisy Ridley) was poor, and (in my opinion) John Boyega and Adam Driver were horribly miscast (most of the other actors were only marginally miscast). I am extremely surprised by the box office this film has gotten. If it hadn’t been for the inclusion of the original characters–Han Solo, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Chewy, and the Droids–this film would have been ranked lower than the first three Star Wars Episodes panned around the world.

    Of course this is all just my opinion and doesn’t amount to a hill of beans … but I just don’t get it, and I loved the first three Episodes.

    • Betti says:

      It could have been better and i disagree on Daisy’s acting being good, she was one the weak link acting wise. The others all outshone her, even those who had min screen time. Hopefully she improves with the 2nd one.

      • tiny dancer says:

        Yeah I didn’t think she was that great either, her acting seems better suited for the stage.
        I feel the same about Cate Blanchett and her stage acting so it’s not snobbery on my side.

    • M.A.F. says:

      I agree w/Betti, her acting wasn’t on par as the others. I don’t think anyone was miscasted but they should have figured out how not to make Driver look like a moody teenager once that mask came off. The man is in his 30s.

      • CG says:

        @MAF that was my complaint about Kylo Ren, too! He was like Anakin 2.0, all sullen, petulant teen angst, although Anakin at least was actually a teenager. It’s hard to take a villain seriously when you can practically hear him saying “God, Mom, stay out of my room!”

      • M.A.F. says:

        My whole theater did a collective “wtf?! it’s a kid!” reaction. It took a few beats for me to realize I was looking at someone my own age. Then that damn temper tantrum after Rey escaped? AHHH!

  10. MP says:

    But J.J. is not working on episode VIII is he?
    Somebody else wrote the script and directs it so I don’t know how much input he will have from now on.

    • Trixie says:

      JJ is a producer for Episode VIII and Episode IX.

      • MP says:

        Oh good. I thought it sounded weird to completely change the people in charge of each episode because they might not fit together so well then.

  11. The Original Mia says:

    There will be gay characters, but it’s not going to be Poe and Finn no matter how much people want it. It’s just not going to happen with the mains not with China/Russia still being huge markets and hugely anti-gay.

    • vauvert says:

      I agree that it probably won’t be one of the mains. I love J.J. and under his watch I am sure he will include as much diversity as he can. I remember the stupid outcry about Boyega and I always wonder in what idiotic, anachronistic century do these people live in? Go J.J!
      And is that his wife in one of the pics? So pretty and I love her dress! And I hope JenG gets in one of his new projects and is more successful that Batfleck.

    • Miss M says:

      I agree with you! The main markets won’t accept well. I don’t think they plan to lose money in the big markets.

      • EscapedConvent says:

        Hey! Leave your mitts off Poe! Some of us ladies are still in fantasyland with Oscar Isaac. No telling when that’s going to wear off.

      • Miss M says:

        You can have Oscar Isaac. He does nothing for me.

  12. Madly says:

    Why does it matter? In the original films only the leads had a romantic life. I didn’t know about anyone else and kinda liked it that way. Just get straight to the action.

    • lucy2 says:

      I was kind of thinking that myself – of the originals, the only romance was Han and Leia, right? I’m fine with no other romantic story lines in the films.
      But if they want to include them, then I think it’s great they will have gay characters too.

    • Robin says:

      Yes, exactly. Do we know the sexuality of every character in these movies? Of course not. Do we need to? Of course not.

  13. grabbyhands says:

    He didn’t say there would be such a pairing, he just said that it is silly to assume that there wouldn’t be in such a large universe-two different things. As much as he would like to see it on screen, doesn’t mean that Disney is going to put it front and center any time soon.

  14. anniefannie says:

    2 things
    Is that Dev Patel in the background?
    And what’s going on? He appears to be pouring champagne on the ground?

    • Mia4s says:

      Yes that’s him. And no it’s not. ;-)

      It’s a mural of an old Vanity Fair photo shoot so he’s doing that in the picture.

  15. oliphant says:

    bugger star wars- i’m more excited about that mini Alias reunion- please do more JJ!!!!

  16. micha says:

    I really don’t believe Poe/Finn will happen, they wouldn’t risk it. Perhaps just Poe with some new character? And to people saying Rey is going to be Luke’s daughter; I sure hope not. They already did the whole “they’re related” reveal with Kylo, so it would just be a repeat. People are expecting it so I don’t see them writing something so obvious. Also not everyone in the goddamn universe can be a Skywalker.
    Im hoping for Rey to be either a Kenobi or related to some smaller character from the past. OR then just a “nobody”.

    • M.A.F. says:

      I would prefer her to just be some random that is in touch with the Force and not related to any of the characters. Yes, Lucas has said that Star Wars was about the Skywalkers, but guess what? He sold Star Wars so the story line can focus on whoever they want.

    • stella alpina says:

      I think Rey really is Luke’s daughter. Don’t forget that Luke’s lightsaber “called” to her during that cantina scene, luring Rey downstairs to a vault area where it was kept. The lightsaber belonged to Luke’s father, Anakin, then passed on to Luke. When Rey touches it, she has visions of her past and of other people, including Luke with R2-D2.

      Later, she uses the weapon quite effectively. It now belongs to her. Also, the Force is “strong with her” just like it was with Luke and Anakin. She didn’t even need Jedi training and she was able to do the Jedi mind trick. Is this all convenient coincidence? I think not.

      Right after the visions, she has a conversation with Maz Kanata (Lupita’s character) and at one point Maz says that Luke could help her understand the meaning of what she saw.

  17. M.A.F. says:

    I could do without the Poe/Finn line simply because it will be paying lip service to fan-fiction and no thank you. Don’t need to pull story lines from fan-fiction (see Sherlock). I could see if Poe had someone at home especially now that we know he was suppose to die in the original script, his story line is wide open.

    As for Rey & Kylo. No. As others have point out, they are related one way or another.

  18. Lucy says:

    I think J.J. has done a great job with the franchise, and I obviously think this is a great move. That being said, I highly doubt Finn/Poe will ever happen. I think he will just introduce new characters who also happen to be lgbt.

  19. Dana says:

    The official ship name is StormPilot, not FinnPoe.

  20. Portugal the Stan says:

    Not sure why that is necessary. I didn’t care for “The Force Awakens” because the ‘diversity’ felt forced. I’m all for diversity in film and life, but when you make every character a minority it feels very contrived. Adding a gay character and/or storyline would feel equally contrived.

    • lucy2 says:

      Can you explain why you thought it was forced?

      Every character was not a minority. Of the dozen or so main actors in the film, only John, Oscar, and Lupita were non-white, and Lupita was an animated character.

  21. Cc says:

    Go Stormpilot, go! :D I also like the pairing of Kylo Ren and General Hux. Or Rey with a new female character!

  22. drnotknowitall says:

    I would love for Rey’s character to be gay! The perfect lead: tough, brave, force sensitive, female, superhero!!

  23. Joey says:

    Abrams is a typical liberal jew boy.