“At Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy made it very clear that, under her watch, the new movies would go out of their way to be diverse. In the context of her statement, she was directly referring to upping the ante on female heroes, which makes sense. How frustrating must it be to be a female Star Wars fan and find yourself limited to that slave Leia get-up when you want to cosplay?
And in Daisy Ridley and Felicity Jones, Kennedy has already put her money where her mouth is. Two of the major characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Rogue One are women and that’s fantastic. Do you really think that 51 percent of the galaxy would sit out the battle with the Empire? Not a chance.
But Lucasfilm’s commitment to diversity is going beyond that. Ridley’s The Force Awakens co-stars are the black John Boyega and the ethnically ambiguous (okay, Cuban/Guatemalan) Oscar Isaac. Jones’ Rogue One co-stars are the Arabic Riz Ahmed and the Mexican Diego Luna, who has reportedly joined the cast. As you can see, none of the heroes in the two new Star Warsmovies are typical white guys. Heck, those typical white guys (Adam Driver and Ben Mendelsohn) have been cast as the villains!
Since the cast of the original trilogy and the prequels are almost entirely lily-white, this is a bold and necessary change of pace. Sure, the other movies had their token black guys in Billy Dee Williams and Samuel L. Jackson, but let’s be honest here — those guys had shockingly little to do for characters who are so fondly remembered. With Ridley, Jones, Boyega, Isaac, Ahmed and Luna, the new Star Wars movies are actually representing people from all over the world.
Finally, the saga is going present its heroes as a diverse bunch from every corner of the galaxy…”