ByEleanor Tremeer, writer at
MP staff. I talk about Star Wars a lot. Sometimes I'm paid for it. Twitter: @ExtraTremeerial | Email: [email protected]
Eleanor Tremeer

Let's play a game called Guess Which Star Wars Film I'm Describing. A ragtag gang of heroes embark on a dangerous mission. Two of the main characters are male, one is a white female with brown hair and a vaguely British accent. Which film is this?

The answer, of course, is pretty much all of them, and the similarities between Star Wars' leading ladies is starting to become a little... grating. Padme and Leia looking similar is totally understandable, considering they're mother and daughter. Daisy Ridley is fantastic as Rey, this is true, but when Felicity Jones was cast as Jyn in Rogue One a pattern started to become very clear.

The Star Wars woman: Padme, Leia, Jyn, Rey. [Lucasfilm]
The Star Wars woman: Padme, Leia, Jyn, Rey. [Lucasfilm]

Now, although Lucasfilm were in talks with three women of color for the role, Emilia Clarke has been cast in the as-yet untitled — and we're getting just a little bit sick of the Star Wars leading lady following the same template.

The Only Woman In The Galaxy

So what's the deal? Are all the women in the Star Wars galaxy really brunette, white, and (more often than not) sporting British accents?

Of course they aren't. After all, Mon Mothma is white and British, but she has short auburn hair. We may never have seen Captain Phasma's face, but we know that she has blonde hair, setting her apart from the other white, British women. And then there's Maisie Richardson-Sellers' character... whose scenes were almost completely cut from The Force Awakens.

Maisie Richardson-Sellers as Korr Sella in 'The Force Awakens' [Lucasfilm]
Maisie Richardson-Sellers as Korr Sella in 'The Force Awakens' [Lucasfilm]

But when it comes to the leading lady, apparently there's only one type of woman worth bothering with, which means that either Lucasfilm and Disney are unbelievably unimaginative — or they want us to keep thinking every female character is Rey's mother until she's finally revealed. And that excuse is wearing a little thin.

We're reminded of that old joke from the Family Guy's Star Wars spoof (Episode III: It's A Trap!) in which Lois-as-Leia meets Mon Mothma, "the only other woman in the galaxy." To which Lois/Leia immediately responds "...I don't like her."

This was a pointed joke back when we just had the original and prequel trilogy, but even with The Force Awakens and Rogue One adding a few female characters to the franchise, they're still vastly outnumbered by dudes.* There are so few of them, in fact, that every single new female character is theorized to be related to someone else — probably either Luke or Rey. Which just reminds us of another joke, this time from the LEGO Star Wars game...

Is it too much to ask that the few women who actually appear in Star Wars are a little diverse? Women come in all shapes, sizes, and races, but for some reason Lucasfilm keep just choosing one type.

Wasted Potential

Which is a shame — because Star Wars is such a huge franchise, it can be very influential, and we saw the impact of this when John Boyega was cast as Finn. That was a great stride forward for not only representation in Hollywood, but diversifying the Star Wars films that are populated predominantly by white actors.

With the Han Solo movie, Lucasfilm had a chance to give us a female protagonist who fulfilled a similar role of representation — there are very few woman of color in big scifi franchises, and the Han Solo movie had the opportunity to help change this.

Not to mention, there's already a fantastic woman of color in the Star Wars universe connected to Han Solo — his ex-wife/con artist partner who returned to plague him in the post-A New Hope comics. We've already written about how awesome it would be to see Sana Starros/Solo in the movies, as she later teamed up with Leia to help the Rebel Alliance.

Of course, we may still see Sanna, or another woman of color, in the Han Solo movie. However, with Emilia Clarke's casting it's clear that she's going to be the female lead — as such a big name from Game of Thrones, and one of the first actors to be confirmed to appear, this role has protagonist written all over it.

Emilia Clarke in 'Terminator: Genisys'. [Paramount]
Emilia Clarke in 'Terminator: Genisys'. [Paramount]

But who knows, maybe Lucasfilm are going to do something totally new and innovative and actually give us more than one female lead! And maybe the other one won't be white!

Stranger things have happened. Here's hoping Lucasfilm don't go the other way, and race-bend Sana so that Emilia Clarke can play her because, well, that's a whole other article's worth of yikes.

Tell us in the comments: What character do you think Emilia Clarke should play?

*Counting droids and villains, the exact male-female ratio in Star Wars is 16:7.


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