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It’s Pride Month! This means celebrating with Pride events and enjoying LGBTQ+ television, games, books. Star Wars, in recent years, has finally started including LGBTQ+ characters, writers and directors into the franchise. For a long time, they were not showing these characters in the movies, with audiences having to wait all the way until 2019 just to see a background kiss between two female characters at the end of The Rise of Skywalker.

Despite the movies lacking in representation, there has been a huge expansion of LGBTQ+ characters appearing in novels, comics and the shows on Disney+. With Pride Month being more important than ever in the current global climate, I thought what better way to celebrate than by exploring these characters in a galaxy far, far away!

LGBTQ+ representation in Star Wars movies and shows so far…

As mentioned, the only LGBTQ+ rep we get to see in a Star Wars film to date is the kiss between two women at the end of The Rise of Skywalker, in a blink and you miss it moment. This has caused some controversy from fans about the lack of anything major in the films, especially with prominent characters such as Poe Dameron and Finn, who were beloved by millions of fans who want them to be together. Oscar Isaac and John Boyega who played the characters, have said things bolstering fans who want the two characters to be an item.

With the lack of on-screen LGBTQ+ relations, it will be very interesting to see if anything changes with the new films that are expected to come out, such as The Mandalorian & Grogu and the new Rey Skywalker movie expected in the next few years.

The Rise of Skywalker kiss
A quick kiss in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney/Lucasfilm)

The Lando movie (which was going to be a Disney+ show) is somewhere I could expect quite a bit of LGBTQ+ representation as the character of Lando Calrissian has been described as Pansexual by Donald Glover, who will play him, as well as the character appearing on a Pride cover for Star Wars comics. Yet, it will be interesting to see just what occurs in the film, whenever it is released.

The world of Disney+ has allowed Star Wars to expand dramatically, giving us so many adventures and new characters. We also have better LGBTQ+ representation thanks to some of the new shows. Andor is the best example of this with two rather major characters, Vel Sartha (Faye Marsay) and Cinta Kaz (Varada Sethu), two women, being in a relationship. The Acolyte also includes two lesbian characters, Mother Aniseya and Mother Koril, who are the mothers of Mae and Osha.

Cinta (Varada Sethu) and Vel (Faye Marsay) in the Andor series
Cinta (Varada Sethu) and Vel (Faye Marsay) in the Andor series (Disney+/Lucasfilm)

The world of animation also has increased its LGBTQ+ rep over the past few years. Characters such as Orka and Flix, two gay aliens from the show Star Wars: Resistance, show how important it is to not only have humans exploring LGBTQ+ themes in shows, and adds to just how expansive Star Wars is for relationships of all kinds.

The show Young Jedi Adventures, set during The High Republic, features a lesbian couple who are the mothers of one of the main characters, Nash Durango. Being a show for much younger viewers, it is great to see how normalized it is, showing all kinds of relationships on screen for kids to help them understand relationships and who can love who in the real world.

Star Wars books to read during Pride Month or anytime

The world of Star Wars in the books has arguably been one of the most important aspects of the franchise in recent years. The plethora of novels released has allowed authors to both create new LGBTQ+ characters but also give older characters from the films and shows a bigger backstory and make them LGBTQ+ in the process.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is the best example of adding a LGBTQ+ backstory to a character, in the novel Padawan, written in 2022 by Kiersten White, Kenobi questions whether he would like to kiss both male and female padawans. People have debated whether this means the character is bisexual or simply asexual, however. It is important nonetheless for more popular characters to get more interesting backstories and ideas of them questioning their sexuality, which can be very important to readers.

Grand Moff Tarkin is also another character from the movies given a LGBTQ+ backstory. Within the novel Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, there is a story written by Glen Weldon from the point of view of a mouse droid who delivers messages on the Death Star. Whilst he is never named, the mouse droid relays messages between a stormtrooper and Grand Moff Tarkin (which has since been confirmed by the author.)

The first gay character to appear in the current Disney Star Wars canon was actually in the book Aftermath by Chuck Wending, one of the protagonist characters in the book is Sinjir Rath Velus who is canonically gay and being one of the first legit gay characters in Star Wars canon. This series of books known as the Aftermath trilogy (set after Return of the Jedi) includes more LGBTQ+ characters such as the villain Rae Sloane who is noted as having previously had husbands and wives.

Book Review: Star Wars: Padawan by Kiersten White

Padawan book with obi-wan kenobi by kiersten white

Celebrate with The High Republic

If you’ve been reading enough of my articles and reviews by now, then you will know how much I love The High Republic! And for good reason, as it is one of the most inclusive, LGBTQ+ friendly eras in Star Wars history, both in the books and comics and also behind the scenes with the authors who write those stories. There are several characters in the books under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, such as Kip and Jom in The Rising Storm and Cohmac Vitus in Out of the Shadows.

More recently, we have the book Escape from Valo that was released back in January and has a big subplot about a character realizing his sexuality and crush on his friend in one of the most heart-warming, emotional Star Wars books I have read. Defy the Storm and Temptation of The Force also brought us Cair San Tekka and Xylan Graf, two men of rival families who ended up marrying each other, and who provide some amazing, hilarious and heart-wrenching romance.

Lula Zeen Star Wars High Republic
Lula and Zeen from The High Republic era

The High Republic’s LGBTQ+ characters aren’t only limited to the books, the comics also provide a wealth of characters for readers, such as Ceret and Terec, two trans non-binary twins prevalent in the main High Republic comics run by Marvel. We also have Lula and Zeen in The High Republic Adventures run from Dark Horse. These are main characters in the runs and so are very prevalent throughout the issues. There are many other minor characters throughout the High Republic that are LGBTQ+ which are all worthy of reading about and seeing for yourself!

Star Wars comics with LGBTQ+ characters

If you want to read some award-winning LGBTQ+ representation in Star Wars, then the comics are the right place to be. Doctor Aphra from Marvel Comics has won a GLAAD award for outstanding comic book! The comic follows Doctor Chelli Lona Aphra, an archaeologist and scoundrel who has run-ins with all the major Star Wars characters between A New Hope and Return of The Jedi. She has had relations with many women in her past and present, and the comic in its first run also gave audiences the first visible LGBTQ+ kiss in Star Wars.

Marvel in recent years have also given fans the chance to collect Star Wars Pride variant covers for the different runs, each featuring different characters, whether it be their first time being confirmed as LGBTQ+, as with Lando Calrissian, or simply being brought into comic book form for the cover. These have proven to be popular variants and it is always interesting to see who gets the Pride cover treatment.

star wars comic cover pride Sinjir Rath Velus in Jango Fett comic
(Marvel Comics)

Let’s not forget the video games in a galaxy far, far away…

It’s very important to mention that whilst there has been an increasingly good amount of representation in Star Wars since the Disney buyout, the first time an actual LGBTQ+ character was created in Star Wars was for the Knights of the Old Republic game in 2003. Juhani, a cathar female in the game, could only be romanced by players who created female characters.

Since then, there has been more representation in modern Star Wars games, such as a few of the characters in Squadrons who you learn about while talking to them in the game. As Cal romances her in the Jedi series of games, the Nightsister Merrin is actually confirmed as pansexual in the tie-in book.

A new hope for a future with more Pride to celebrate in Star Wars

LGBTQ+ representation in Star Wars is an ever-growing aspect of the franchise, with it becoming ever more prevalent in books and comics. It is managing to make its way into television and wider audiences, as well as hopefully onto the big screen in new films over the next few years.

It’s important to continue to gain LGBTQ+ characters in a franchise so beloved by many, so that more generations of people can continue to see themselves in more and more characters, and to make it a more welcoming place for fans of all sexuality and gender.

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