A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, gay characters still populated the universe, the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens revealed Thursday.
Blockbuster director J.J. Abrams hosted the annual U.S.-Ireland Alliance’s Oscar Wilde Awards at his production company’s headquarters Thursday, and weighed in on the growing calls to see openly gay characters in the new installments of the multibillion-dollar Star Wars franchise.
“When I talk about inclusivity, it’s not excluding gay characters,” Abrams told The Daily Beast Thursday. “It’s about inclusivity. So of course [there will be gay characters].”
Asked why fans have never seen an openly LGBT character in the seven movies spanning decades and galaxies, Abrams said he would “love” to change that reality.
“To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility,” he said. “So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.”
Following the runaway success of The Force Awakens, which features the first female and black leads in Star Wars history, thanks to Daisy Ridley’s Rey and John Boyega’s Finn, respectively, many fans speculated that the universe may have already seen the beginnings of its first intergalactic gay romance. On screen, lingering embraces and “the lip bite that launched a thousand ships” between Boyega’s former stormtrooper Finn and Oliver Issac’s resistance pilot Poe Dameron has been the topic of endless slash fiction and fan art than has the two men head-over-heels for one another.
While Abrams won’t be directing Star Wars Episode VIII, he will stay on as executive producer and creative consultant, according to Cinema Blend.
Abrams maintains that the next story in the franchise’s newest trilogy will uphold the groundbreaking diversity featured in Episode VII. He told the Daily Beast that conversations about what that diversity will look like are already ongoing, and implied that fans should be optimistic about meeting the galaxy’s first openly gay character.
“It’s in private meetings, it’s in private phone calls, it’s in interviews,” he told the publication Thursday. “I know that this will happen. I know it will. Not just on camera but behind the camera.”