GLAAD Urges Disney to Include Gay Characters in 'Star Wars: Episode VIII'

In their annual "Studio Responsibility Index" report, GLAAD takes major film studios to task for their representation (or lack thereof) of LGBT people in film. The organization recently released their 2016 report, which gives Disney a failing grade; over the 11 films the studio released in 2015, none of them included appearances by LGBT people. This year, GLAAD cited the "Star Wars" universe specifically as an area where the studio could change this.

"For the first time since beginning this report, GLAAD did not find any LGBT-inclusive content among Disney’s yearly slate of films," the report reads. "As recent successful animated films and TV programs have shown (Oscar-nominated ParaNorman, Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe), LGBT people appearing in 'all-ages' programming -- animated or not -- is not the impossible notion it once was. LGBT people are already part of families and communities around the world, and film of all genres should reflect that."

"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," it continues. "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."

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has been praised for its diverse range of characters. However, as pointed out in the report, none of these characters reflected LGBT people. Since the film's release, fan support has also grown for a LGBT relationship between John Boyega's Finn and Oscar Isaac's Poe, who share several key scenes together.

Starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill and more, “Star Wars: Episode VIII” is scheduled to open on Dec. 15, 2017.

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