Saturday, May 3, 2014

A New(er) Hope? Star Wars VII may still cast a woman of color

Lupita Nyong'o; image from Forbes
Maisie Richardson-Sellers; Image from The Hollywood Reporter

In the wake of the cast announcement for Star Wars Episode VII, the internet is up in arms about the single new woman and the single person of color in the cast. It sounds like there may still be hope, though: J. J. Abrams has announced that he is looking to cast one more woman for a major role, and rumors indicate that it may be a woman of color.

Rumors originally said that Lupita Nyong'o was in the running for a role in Star Wars Episode VII, but that was before she won an Oscar, so I can understand if she is not interested any more. Now the rumors are focusing on Maisie Richardson-Sellers. If either rumor proves true, it will double the number of major characters who are women and people of color.

Without getting too Tumblr on here, I will say this: representation matters. That phrase is as true in our galaxy as in a galaxy far, far away. Lando was never Han's black friend: he was Han's friend, who happened to be black. So if the characters in Star Wars can be so open-minded when it comes to race, why not the creators of Star Wars as well? (And speaking of Lando, why isn't Billy Dee Williams back for Episode VII?)

So here's my hope: that J. J. Abrams casts one more major character in Episode VII, and that the character is a woman of color. And while I'm hoping, you know what? Let's make sure that character is just as big on the movie poster as the others.

May the Force be with us all.

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