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Steve Weatherbe

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J.J. Abrams: ‘Star Wars’ will have gay characters

Steve Weatherbe

ANALYSIS

HOLLYWOOD, April 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – If J.J. Abrams, the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has his way with future scripts, expect homosexual characters.

Abrams was hosting a pre-Academy Awards event at his production company Bad Robot when asked about prospects for homosexual characters. He responded, “Of course, of course. When I talk about inclusivity it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course.”

Abrams like everyone else in Hollywood was talking about inclusivity in response to all this year’s nominees for acting Oscars being white (though largely unnoticed was the prominence of gay or transgender storylines). On the larger issue of color—or lack thereof—Abrams had told the Daily Beast,  “It’s shameful. 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 Bad Robot.”

Speculation immediately began about the close relationship between two leading male characters, Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega), in Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, which has already grossed 2 billion USD worldwide.

Everyone from the Daily Beast to the British Express wondered: Will the sequel, Rogue One, set for release by Christmas, see new and openly homosexual characters take the stage or will the already close friendship between Poe and Finn turn into something more?

Isaac clearly thinks he was in more than a buddy movie. He told the audience of the Ellen talk show, “You have to watch it a few times to catch all the little hints. But there was. At least I was playing romance. In the cockpit I was playing... there was a deep romance.”

Allmagnews.com noted, “After their crash landing on the desert planet, Finn seemed rather distressed that Poe may have been lost. All that was left of the pilot was his leather jacket, and Finn wore it as he made his way through the planet.” Cinema Blend commented about their happy reunion late in the movie: “Did you see that look Poe gave Finn when he told Finn that his jacket looked good on him?”

Moreover, Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars and appears for just a moment in the latest one, has emerged as a contender for the gay stakes because of a mysterious tweet to a fan asking about his character’s sexuality. “Luke is whatever the audience wants him to be. So you can decide for yourself.”  

Finally, the latest novel in the print series, has introduced three new LGBT characters to its parallel story line. Though its fictional reality is parallel but not identical to the movie series, its corporate universe is identically dominated by Disney and LucasFilm. At least in print they believe their fans are ready for a gay hero named Sinjir Rath Velus, an Imperial officer who has crossed over to the Rebels.

So far, parents of preteens and early teens have only had to worry about excessive violence (The Force Awakens is rated among the most violent episodes and the darkest). Now must they go the theatre in December 2017 with their “gaydar” units turned on? Does it matter?

“Of course it does,” Dan Gainor, vice president of the conservative Media Research Center, told LifeSiteNews. “Hollywood is mass marketing propaganda. If it isn’t environmental and anti-American propaganda in Avatar, it’s sexual propaganda. There are a lot of gays in Hollywood. But it doesn’t mean that the rest of America is like that.” The MRC has summarized its beliefs succinctly, in a 2012 report titled “Hollywood: Driving the Homosexual Agenda for 40 Years.”

Homosexuals are presented as healthy, normal, living in married relationships with children, a picture that differs significantly from the woeful health and relational patterns of most homosexuals, warns Gainor.  “They are presented as far more common than they are in reality.”

He cites a 2015 Gallup poll showing 53 percent of Americans believe that from 20-25 percent of the population is homosexual, up from 13 percent who believed this in 2002. “That’s Hollywood’s work,” said Gainor. “It means we are deciding policies thinking we are accommodating a sizeable group when it’s a miniscule minority.”

The direct influence of the entertainment media on popular attitudes is well documented. A 2012 survey of “likely voters” by THR showed, according to the Hollywood Reporter, that  “27 percent said gay TV made them more pro-gay marriage, and six percent [said it made them] more anti. Obama voters watched and 30 percent got more supportive, 2 percent less supportive. [As for] Romney [supporters]… 13 percent got more pro-gay-marriage, 12 percent got more anti.” Concluded the Reporter: “Social conservatives who fear the influence of gay-friendly TV are evidently right to fear it.”

But movie studios are far behind TV in pushing homosexuality, laments the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which noted only a slight increase in homosexual content between 2013 and 2014. “Of the 114 films GLAAD tracked this year [for 2014], only 20 (17.5%) included depictions of LGBT characters, and some of those would have been better left on the cutting room floor,” it reported.

But anecdotal evidence indicates a shift last year to movies with dominant homosexual or LGBT themes. While GLAAD could find no transgender characters in 2014, last year saw the release of The Danish Girl, a biopic about a Danish artist in the 1920s who died from complications of sex-change surgery; Carol about a 60s housewife having an affair with a shopgirl; and Freeheld, about a lesbian police officer dying of cancer and fighting for her partner to get her death benefits. All featured major stars such as Eddie Redmayne and Cate Blanchett.

Still, for Gainor, nothing tops the popular, well-made new TV series called Lucifer. “I’m unshockable. Why should I get upset about a gay character in Star Wars when there is now a TV series marketing Satan as the good guy?”

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