Future installments in the popular and long-running Star Wars series will feature openly gay characters, according to JJ Abrams. "The Force Awakens" director hinted that the iconic franchise, after including its first female Jedi and first black Stormtrooper, might finally include a homosexual main character in upcoming installments such as "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" and "Star Wars: Episode VIII."
Talking to press right before the US-Ireland Alliance Oscar Wilde Awards on Thursday, Abrams said, via The Daily Beast, "When I talk about inclusivity, it's not excluding gay characters, it's about inclusivity, so of course." The ceremony, dedicated to honor Irish movie and TV figures, were held in Santa Monica, California at the offices of Abrams' Bad Robot production company.
The director went on to say, "To me the fun of Star Wars is exploring the possibilities, so it seems insanely narrow-minded to say that there wouldn't be a homosexual character in that world." Abrams was earlier lauded for casting a female lead with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega as the first black Stromtrooper.
While openly homosexual characters are new to Star Wars' movie universe, they have been previously featured in the franchise's expanded universe. Io9 pointed out that gay characters are previously included such as Moff Delian Mors in Paul S. Kemp's 2015 book "Lords of the Sith" and Esmelle Wexley, the main character in Chuck Wendig's "Aftermath."
Abrams has relinquished his duties as director of the next Star Wars films as those will be going to Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow for Episodes VIII and IX, respectively. However, he will be executive-producing the next two installments. Moreover, having someone of his stature and reputation to speak up for the need for inclusivity makes it even more likely to happen.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the franchise's "most progressive episode yet," broke box office records, driving Disney's most profitable quarter in its history. The film reached $2 billion in revenue earlier this month and currently stands as the third movie ever in terms of global box office, only behind Titanic and Avatar. The next entry in the film series, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or simply Rogue One, arrives on December 16, 2016. After that will be Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is scheduled for release on December 15, 2017.