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Episode VII: Where are the Women?

John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. This list of new cast members for Episode VII should excite me because it means we’re getting closer to actually having a new movie. John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. This list should put me on the edge of my seat because it means Star Wars is going to move on. No more waiting on information for the EU or the not-EU. We have a set story with real people ready to step into those roles to bring life to characters on the screen. John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. Instead, I feel disappointed. Disappointed that out of seven names released we have one female character. One. I don’t like being disappointed with Star Wars. I am part of this specific site because we don’t whine for the sake of hearing ourselves whine. We aren’t negative about every new detail released. We like our Star Wars and we’re striving to accept what is being given to us: a new start. We’re excited about the future of the franchise and hoping to help people move on with our opinions and discussions.

John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. That list makes the above very difficult for me. Anyone who has read some of my articles knows that I can’t wait for Episode VII. They know that I have been anxiously hoping to hear a change in how Star Wars has used females in the past. I have been excited for this franchise that has always been innovative and propelled the movie industry to new and better levels to once again take a stand and have a female heavy or even equal cast. To really let the heroines shine. Heroines. Plural. Let’s have a look at that list again: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. One female. Oh sure this new cast is going to join the old one which means we get Carrie Fisher again too. That isn’t the future of Star Wars. The next generation is who is going to propel the Expanded Universe where much of my fandom lies.

star-wars-episode-7-cast-announce2 Let’s look at this picture of the cast reading. There are fifteen people in the circle out of which only three are female. That is ridiculous. There is no other way to discuss this without using a term like that. Anyone who looks at a picture like this and thinks there is something ok with it for today’s world is still stuck in the past and I am ashamed to be a female Star Wars fan right now.

Not only has Star Wars disappointed me, but so has its parent company Disney. I can’t believe that the company who has recently hit a home run with a female hero movie  with Frozen did not even try to stipulate that the new Star Wars movie promotes females. Star Wars is unique and different from other franchises in the Sci-fi/Fantasy genre. Star Trek is based on a cast created over fifty years ago before changes were made in our society. Every time they reboot they are stuck with the same cast of characters and while they have made some efforts in adding female characters here and there, the main cast is the same as it has always been: mostly men with one female. The Marvel movies find themselves in a similar situation. They are basing the movies off of characters also created over fifty years ago when women were housewives. They find themselves stuck in stories that do not feature women prominently though again they have made extra efforts to include their one female quite a bit. Star Wars on the other hand has a blank slate. They wiped out the entire EU (which let’s be honest was already male heavy) and they have the ability to write whatever storyline they want with whatever characters they want to appeal to today’s world. Instead of doing that they remained stuck in their old ways and put forth a heavily male dominated cast that has been plaguing the industry. It’s beyond disappointing.

Ok, now that I’ve vented let’s take a step back here. Many other websites released opinions right away and I don’t blame them. I felt like they did which is what I wrote above. I also decided to wait to post this because I wanted some time to digest what has been given to me and try to stick to the purpose of our site. I am excited about Daisy Ridley. She looks the part of a daughter of perhaps Han and Leia. I’m excited that she’s kind of an unknown. I have been apprehensive about so many big name actors being tossed around to be in the new movie so I like that they’re sticking to Star Wars’ mantra of using little known actors. I’m excited to see the different races represented. We haven’t managed to break up the boys club yet but we have managed to break up the white boys club. That’s a step in the right direction. Random thoughts that have popped into my head over the course of the week include that we could all be freaking out for no reason. Sort of. The female could be the star of the movie much like Jennifer Lawrence is the star of the Hunger Games despite most of the time being surrounded by more men than women. I’d be ok with that type of movie. I’m not sure if some of the press releases were deliberately only showing the new male cast or if that was a choice made by certain news outlets. For instance one of the new blurbs that came across my Facebook page said “The New Cast of Star Wars Episode VII” along with pictures of the five guys and no females at all. Maybe that was deliberate. It certainly has generated a lot of social media press for the film.

For me, at this point, I’m going to hope that there is some deliberate miscommuni-cation going on and what we’re seeing isn’t all that we’re going to get. I’m going to believe that we’re going to get a movie where the female is more than just eye candy or a damsel in distress. It is hard to be positive right now in light of what we’re seeing. I get that. If all else fails and the movies do not deliver at least we still have John Jackson Miller who has written a phenomenal female lead in the Star Wars universe before and can do it again.

3 thoughts to “Episode VII: Where are the Women?”

  1. Totally agree with this. My one hope is the fact that apparently casting isn’t quite finished for the movie. Maybe we can get another female character or two from that. Or maybe Daisy is the lead. A Star Wars movie with a female lead would be great! I guess we’ll see.

  2. While I can sort of understand where your article is coming from, it seems to be a jumping the gun a bit. Let me give an example. You say, “I can’t believe that the company who has recently hit a home run with a female hero movie with Frozen did not even try to stipulate that the new Star Wars movie promotes females.” Let’s consider. Do we have any information about what came down from above? Do we even know that the movie doesn’t promote females – or is the number of female characters the only way that females can be promoted? If you want to have a “fight the patriarchy” sort of movie, you probably need to have plenty of guys for the patriarchy. It may very well have the Hunger Games feel that you said you’d be alright with.

    Yes, I know I’m male and so therefore my opinion on this issue doesn’t count or is to be considered less valid, but it seems sad that a complicated issue gets suddenly reduced to a mere count of characters. If the new film drops the ball in the female character department – in what they do, how they are characterized… then hammer it then. But there is a lack of information about the film right now – and an simple photo of a table read (and some foolish facebook reporting) isn’t really a reason to lament yet.

  3. Current rumour is that there is still casting news to come, but whether that helps or not is anybody’s guess.

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