The Star Wars franchise and the word “divisive” have grown more fond of each other since Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012.
Disney has placed ethnic and gender diversity at the forefront of each new release. In “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, the first of the new trilogy, we were introduced to Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron, the trilogy’s leads.
Rey was played by Daisy Ridley, a British woman; Finn was played by John Boyega, a Briton of Nigerian descent; and Poe Dameron was played by Oscar Isaac, a Guatemalan-American.
In “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” we were introduced to Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor and Chirrut Îmwe, to name a few.
Erso was played by Felicity Jones, another British woman. Andor was played by Diego Luna, a Mexican. And Chirrut Îmwe was played by Donnie Yen, who hails from China.
Erso led the Rebel spies and made the attack on the Death Star in “A New Hope” possible. Rey is a leading protagonist and a very powerful jedi. Even the former Princess Leia Organa is now the general of The Resistance’s army, or what’s left of it.
Starting to see a trend? It’s awesome right? We now have strong characters in the Star Wars universe that a number of disenfranchised groups can identify with.
It’s a call for celebration!
But in reality, it isn’t. Not for an alarmingly large number of the fanbase at least, specifically regarding the women in the new films.
The word “feminist agenda” has circulated Star Wars’ social media pages like wildfire, and the most recent release , “The Last Jedi,” only doused some more lighter fluid on the situation.
Rose Tico, played by Kelly Marie Tran; and Vice Admiral Holdo, played Laura Dern are the newest actresses to cause a stir in the Star Wars fanbase.
And while Holdo has her defenders, with me being one of the more fervent ones, Tico has not been so lucky.
Just one look at any tweet that mentions Tico on the Star Wars Twitter and you’ll find replies like these.
It’s not fair. Not that all criticisms are unwarranted, some of them are. But worse than Jar-Jar Binks, seriously?
Yes her arc with Finn on that gambling planet stretched a little too long, yes their romance felt forced and yes her “That’s how we’re going to win. Not fighting what we hate. Saving what we love” line made me want to cry for all the wrong reasons, but she was serviceable character and Tran gave a worthy and compelling performance.
Jar-Jar Binks was not serviceable, was borderline racially insensitive and his only major contributions to the storyline of the prequel trilogy were helping in the Gungan war and–here’s the fun one–giving Palpatine the “emergency powers” that led to his eventual reign as emperor.
Jar-Jar is directly responsible for the deaths of millions, including those cute little younglings Anakin kills in “Revenge of the Sith”.
The point here is, leave these women alone. If you don’t like their characters, fine, but don’t go saying their just as detrimental to the franchise as Jar-Jar Binks.
Don’t mask your “anti-feminism” sentiments in some nonsensical bashing of a film and franchise that, in my opinion, has treated Star Wars very well and has made some excellent additions to a universe already filled with so many memorable characters.
Disney doesn’t have feminist agenda, having women in powerful roles does not immediately correlate to that. Or did George Lucas have a “meninist agenda” when casting the original and prequel trilogies.