“Star Wars” needs gay or lesbian characters introduced into the franchise according to a recommendation in anti-defamation group GLAAD’s studio responsibility index report.
The annual survey of depictions of LGBT characters in major studio releases has given both Disney Pictures and Paramount Pictures black marks this year due to them not featuring any gay or lesbian characters at all in any of their films last year.
Of the 126 major studio releases last year, only 22 of them (17.5%) featured LGBT characters. That was the same percentage of characters that appeared in films in 2014. Over 77% of films with LGBT characters featured gay men, 23% had lesbians, and 9% included bisexual characters.
Only one film had a transgender character that was deemed inclusive, and the LGBT characters that did appear were not racially diverse – in fact the number of LGBT characters of color went down with from 32% to 25% in a year.
No studio earned a ‘good’ rating for LGBT character inclusion – the best were Fox, Lionsgate, Sony and Universal which all earned ‘adequate’ ratings. Kevin Hart in particular was called out for both of his comedies “Get Hard” and “The Wedding Ringer” trading on ‘gay panic’ humor.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has been praised for featuring both a female and an African-American protagonist, but the lack of gay characters in the screen universe has become a sore point with some fans. In regards to “Star Wars” inclusiveness, the report says:
“As sci-fi projects have the special opportunity to create unique worlds whose advanced societies can serve as a commentary on our own, the most obvious place where Disney could include LGBT characters is in the upcoming eighth ‘Star Wars’ film. 2015’s ‘The Force Awakens’ has introduced a new and diverse central trio, which allows the creators opportunity to tell fresh stories as they develop their backstory. Recent official novels in the franchise featured lesbian and gay characters that could also be easily written into the stories.”
Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: Episode VIII” is currently shooting in London.