An Open Letter to Star Wars

By Pranks Paul

Hello, big fan of your work.  That’s a bit of an understatement.  I’ve been a fan of this galaxy since I was a just a youngling.  I live and breathe it.  But my bona fides are not why you should listen to me.

You should listen to me because I’m a person who is invested in something you create.  And right now, I’m really disappointed in you as an entity.  You see, you’re not doing enough to make people feel comfortable in your galaxy.  And that’s the wrong way to approach things, not just from a moral perspective, but from a business perspective.

I’m a straight non-white male with immigrant parents.  Many of my friends who I have met in your fandom are PoC, women, and/or LGBT.  One of the ways you can create more fans for your property is to show these fans people that resemble them.  These fans are more likely to go see a movie or a TV show that has people that they can identify with, which translates to more money for you.  I’m not talking about myself.  I would have gone to see Rogue One even if the cast didn’t include Bodhi Rook.  But there is probably a young South Asian kid who is much more excited about the movie because there is a pilot that looks like him.  And that sells tickets.  Also, if it matters, it’s the right thing to do.

You’ve made a decent amount progress outside of the movies in depicting people who aren’t white cishet males — the Aftermath series, Dr. Aphra, and Rebels.  The Force Awakens printed credits, and had a relatively diverse cast as well.  Rogue One was a step forward for male PoCs, but a huge step backwards for women.  (One female character was fridged, and only a handful of others had any lines at all).

I know you (Star Wars) are making progress.  Part of the reason I know this is because a lot of people are mad at how much progress it is making.  Almost all of these people are older white men.  These white men are angry because there are more female main characters in comics, because Chuck Wendig included LGBT relationships in his book series, and because Sabine Wren exists.

But you, as an institution are not doing enough by simply creating these characters.  You need to make clear that your community is a safe space for me and my friends.  And right now, it’s not.

It’s not because of entities such as Rebel Force Radio, which is made up of white men who have made clear that they are upset and uncomfortable that Star Wars is becoming more inclusive.  RFR has been granted interviews with content creators, and has been highlighted at movie premieres.  Let me help jog your memory about some of the things they have said in the past:

Jason Swank: They’re all like “Oh, we need more women game developers!” Here’s the dirty little secret: Most women aren’t into that stuff! It’s like do we need more male stewardesses? Do we need more male nurses? Do we need more male secretaries?

Jimmy McInerney: And when does the more more more thing stop? I mean statistically speaking? When it’s perfectly 50/50? I don’t think so! I think it’ll keep driving and driving ’til it’s 100% and we’re completely wiped out!

JS: …Let’s find out what happens when all these comic book series all feature women and the sales just plummet. Because you know what? Chicks that dig comic books & stuff like that: Yes they exist, but they are the MINORITY. The MINORITY in the community of genre entertainment!. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a voice, they shouldn’t be represented, but we always go so overboard to please these people

Deb Swank: Should a 7 year-old girl or any young girl for that matter go to a Disney Star Wars movie and feel self-conscious about the way she looks compared  to how they’ve dressed the lead character in the movie? No. It’s a family movie.

Jimmy McInerney: I’m glad you’re bringing this up, because this is the part that gets to me, is the politically correct idea of inclusivity, where everyone has to be able to fit into every piece of clothing, or be skilled enough to be on every playing field or stage there is in the world just because they want to.

These quotes came from the following source: https://rfrsgreatesthits.tumblr.com/.  There’s more stuff at the link.

Star Wars, you have given these people a voice and reach that they would not have otherwise.  Rebel Force Radio has been given a time slot on the Podcasting stage at Star Wars Celebration.  This is completely and totally unacceptable.

Star Wars Celebration should be about showcasing the best sides of fandom.  It should not be a place that highlights people like this.  As long as these voices are in the fandom and you are lifting them up, you are making your community less friendly to anyone who is not a straight white man.

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.  I know you’re better than this.  Prove it.

The author is very disappointed.

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