ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, there's a lot to love about 's recently released , especially for fans of the original trilogy, but for many audience members, there's one element of the movie that stands out above all the rest. After all, Rogue One is - to a far greater extent than even - a genuinely diversely cast movie. With a strong, complex female lead, and a supporting cast made up of a Mexican spy, a British-Pakistani pilot, an African-American militant and a pair of Chinese combat experts, the film is a perfectly modulated refutation of the idea that wider representation in movies is difficult to achieve, and somehow damaging in any way.

As such, it's touching to note that...

This Fan Response To 'Rogue One' Shows Just How Much Diversity Matters

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Lucasfilm]
'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Lucasfilm]

Y'see, while it's all well and good for journalists and online cultural commentators to laud the film for being far more representative than pretty much any other blockbuster out there, it's ultimately the impact that the film has on real life people that matters far more. On the macro level, Rogue One will most likely help to spread a passive message of inclusivity, diversity and representation to audiences across the world - offering people everywhere an alternative cinematic vision to the white-washed norm. However, it's on the micro level that we can see the most immediate impact of the movie.

Take, for instance, this recent post from Rogue One's very own Cassian Andor himself, , in which he shared a message sent to him by Tumblr user @riveralwaysknew. In it, she recounts the story of taking her father to see Rogue One for the first time:

Which - while distinctly heartwarming - is precisely the sort of story that every straight white guy out there needs to hear. It's easy to forget that while we've been enjoying the wonders of straightforward, problem-free identification with the likes of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi, the vast majority of the planet has been forced into an endless cycle of cinematic compromise. The underlying message, after all, has long been to either accept that the vast majority of your movie heroes won't look or sound like you, or to look elsewhere for your heroes. Which, aside from being stupid and appalling on any number of levels, is also a large part of why there are so many boring, cookie-cutter blockbusters out there, with leads who all look suspiciously alike.

In other words, even if the story above doesn't hit you in the feels by highlighting the fundamental inequality of the movie industry, or the horrendous lack of representation within most popular culture, it still successfully points towards one of the more establishment-friendly side effects of increased diversity in movies. Namely, that more diversity tends to make movies better. Which, whether you're appalled at the way pretty much everyone who isn't a straight white male is treated or not, is surely a good thing, right?

What do you reckon, though? Do you have any stories to share regarding representation in movies - or the lack thereof? Let us know below!



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