My fellow Star Wars fans, the day is finally here. It’s the one you’ve all been waiting for. The new Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker, is out … and at some point during the movie, director J.J. Abrams will appear in your row and ask, “Excuse me, but have you heard about LGBTQAIPPBRAP+ yet?” What a wonderful moment it will be for you, sitting there in the dark noshing on popcorn and Mike and Ikes, absorbed in a galactic space tale only to be roughly jerked out of a fantasy land far far away to be doused with the cold reality of gay mafia politicking. I can’t wait.
Without giving away any spoilers, there is a scene in the final Skywalker Saga film where two unnamed female Resistance soldiers quickly embrace and kiss.
The shot fulfills director J.J. Abrams’ hint that he would introduce some LGBTQ representation in the film — but not among leads Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega), two charismatic friends who some fans have longed to see take things a bit further.
We have? I don’t remember ever having that thought cross my mind during any of the previous films with those two characters, but who am I to know what I think? Clearly, I’m wrong because the media says I am and I have secretly been pining for two fictional characters to tear each other’s clothes off in between blowing stuff up. I just don’t know myself anymore without the help of the gatekeepers of what we are all thinking.
But don’t think this will make the LGBTQWTFers happy. It won’t. “The kiss shot is very blink-and-you-missed-it brief, however, and some who have seen the film early via press screenings are chiding Disney for not doing more to increase representation.” You don’t say? How surprising!
Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker follows Avengers: Endgame by gesturing vaguely at LGBTQ community with split-second shot of women kissing, claims film has queer representation,” wrote one. “Rise of Skywalker – two ladies kiss in the background of some scene. Avengers: Endgame – random guy in grief counseling says he went on date with a dude Beauty & the Beast. LeFou dances with a guy for like 3 seconds sO pRoGrEsSiVe!,” tweeted another. “Being a lifelong Star Wars fan, any representation is an exciting prospect. It doesn’t seem like they are committing to it, though. Disney has to make a decision. These 2-second cameos are enough to anger conservatives, but they aren’t enough for us…” wrote a third.
I would think “angering conservatives” would be reward enough. We all know that’s why they do this. It’s “shock the squares” on a much grander scale. Star Wars is also a franchise that parents take very young children to see. It’s not fair to make parents have to have difficult conversations with six-year-olds just because they wanted to see the next installment of Star Wars. It’s unbelievably rude and insensitive. Not every family thinks children should be having adult conversations about sexuality.
Luckily, not all gay people think this is progress. WalkAway activist Mike Harlow is annoyed by it and posted publicly on Facebook. “I don’t want to see the agenda on screen!” he wrote. “Whenever there is agenda-pushing, it jolts you out of the story and makes you feel like there’s somebody standing behind you, tapping you on the shoulder lecturing you about LGBT rights, and I’m just like ‘Bro. Shhh, I’m watching the movie!”
The issue of gay representation in Star Wars is also disingenuous. Everyone knows C3PO is very, very gay. Peter Boykin, a gay conservative activist, replied to Harlow saying, “We have had C3PO from the beginning… That robot is gay.. like super gay… Also, Jar Jar could have been gay.. at least his jokes were.”
I cannot argue with that logic.
It’s interesting to me that the directors of these movies — when they put something like this in the background and then make a big deal out of it — seem to realize that if they did much more than that, like making major characters the focus of a gay love affair, they would lose their audience. It’s an indisputable fact that heterosexuals vastly outnumber homosexuals. This means the majority of the audience you want to reach for a blockbuster film is straight and, at least for now, directors recognize that they will alienate the audience and suffer losses if they push this too far.
Homophobia is not the issue. Straight people simply have no desire to watch gay love stories. It’s a niche market that does want gay stories and there are networks that cater to that audience, like LOGO and pretty much all of Netflix, HBO, and the Cannes Film Festival. Big blockbuster films, however, will always be aimed at the majority—which will always be straight. It would be bad business to start making movies for that audience that just don’t interest them and the movie-makers, if they try it, will find out the hard way when the box office returns come in.
Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo.” Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter