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'Star Wars' Canon Gets a New Gay Hero

"Star Wars: Aftermath," the new novel by author Chuck Wendig, introduces a new gay hero to the franchise.

Sinjir Rath Velus is described as an AWOL Imperial loyalty officer who begins to side with the Rebellion after witnessing the horrors of the Battle of Endor, depicted in "Return of the Jedi." The novel, which goes on sale today, also includes two gay background characters -- Esmelle, the older sister of Rebel fighter Norra Wexley, and her wife Shirene.

As Entertainment Weekly notes, Sinjir isn't the first gay character introduced into the new "Star Wars" -- that distinction goes to Imperial officer Moff Delian Mors, from April's "Lords of the Sith" -- but he is the first gay hero.

Wendig said Sinjir's sexuality, which isn't a major plot point, "was no issue in terms of the Lucasfilm people."

"They have been very gracious and accommodating for that sort of thing, as they should be," he told EW. "The only question in terms of story stuff was, some of the earlier readers of the book were like, well, it’s kind of a shame, because he and that other character actually have some good chemistry. So in some ways it’s like, well, it’s a shame that they’re not getting together."

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