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Star Wars: Aftermath — the novel by Chuck Wendig that offers fans their first canonical look at a galaxy far, far away following 1983’s Return of the Jedi — has received a very particular response from a subsection of fandom upset at the introduction of a gay character into the mythology. Wendig took to his blog to reply to the reaction.
“If you’re upset because I put gay characters and a gay protagonist in the book, I got nothing for you,” the author wrote in a blog post about reaction to the book’s reception. “Sorry, you squawking saurian — meteor’s coming. And it’s a fabulously gay Nyan Cat meteor with a rainbow trailing behind it and your mode of thought will be extinct. You’re not the Rebel Alliance. You’re not the good guys. You’re the f—ing Empire, man. You’re the shitty, oppressive, totalitarian Empire.”
Aftermath introduces Sinjir Rath Velus, a former Imperial officer who finds himself working with Rebel-aligned forces (no pun intended) through a combination of circumstance and guilt. At one point in the novel, he comes out as gay when propositioned by one of the female leads of the book; it’s a fun moment, but a minor one in terms of the overall plot (indeed, his sexuality is only mentioned in that one scene).
LGBTQ characters have been entirely absent in the canonical Star Wars universe until this year; an earlier 2015 prose release, Star Wars: Lords of the Sith introduced the first openly LGBTQ character in canonical mythology, Moff Mors, almost four decades after the original movie was released.
Wendig’s blog post continued, “If you can imagine a world where Luke Skywalker would be irritated that there were gay people around him, you completely missed the point of Star Wars. It’s like trying to picture Jesus kicking lepers in the throat instead of curing them. Stop being the Empire. Join the Rebel Alliance. We have love and inclusion and great music and cute droids.”
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens adding some much-needed racial and gender diversity to the heroes of the franchise — note that the white men in the movie are either the old guard of heroes or the bad guys — perhaps it won’t be too long before the cinematic Rebel Alliance (or Resistance, as they’re called in the new movie) will have some nonstraight heroes saving the galaxy, too.
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