Fans petition for Star Wars LGBT character in wake of Orlando
Fans of the Star Wars movie franchise are joining forces to call on Lucasfilm and The Walt Disney Company to introduce their first LGBT character in honour of those who died in the Orlando club shooting earlier this month.
Started by Joshua Yehl, a close friend of one of the victims in the tragic incident, the new Change.org petition calls on Kathleen Kennedy (President of Lucasfilm), Bob Iger (CEO of The Walt Disney Company), and all of those behind the Star Wars films to create a character to commemorate Yehl’s friend Drew Leinonen, who was a massive fan of the films.
“While Star Wars is a sci-fi fantasy world with bizarre aliens and hulking monsters, it still features characters just like us,” writes Yehl. “After A New Hope, steps were taken to expand and diversify the cast, giving us the smooth-talking Lando Calrissian and Rebel pilots played by people of colour.
“The tradition of making Star Wars more inclusive continued with the casting of Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn, the main protagonists of The Force Awakens. It’s my hope that Star Wars will take another step forward by introducing their first-ever LGBT character in a movie.”
Yehl also quotes the supportive words of The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams:
“Star Wars has never had a gay character appear on screen before, but as The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams recently said on the topic, “The fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world”. I can’t put it any better than that. Now is the time to act. Trust your feelings.”
In the moving video that accompanies the petition, Joshua says to the camera: “Simply put, Drew was a remarkable human being, and I can’t think of a more perfect tribute to his legacy than this. Nothing would make him happier than for all the little gay nerds out there to have their own Star Wars character to look up to.”
At the time of writing, 3,474 supporters have already signed the petition, which requires a further 1,526 signatures to reach its target of 5,000.
Sign the Change.org petition here.