In an optimistic discussion with the press—albeit one that blows right past the mountains of “Finn + Poe = LOVE” posters hanging up in the halls of The A.V. Club’s offices—J.J. Abrams has said he expects future Star Wars films to feature more inclusivity—including characters who identify as LGBT.
Abrams made the statements at the US-Ireland Alliance’s annual Oscar Wilde Awards, which honors Irish and Irish-related talent (including Abrams’ leading lady, Daisy Ridley), and which was held at the director’s Bad Robot HQ this weekend. When Abrams was asked at the event whether his recent comments about the need for diversity in Hollywood included representation for gay characters, he responded by saying, “When I talk about inclusivity it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course.”
He then went on to add, “To me, 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”—an honorable belief, which nevertheless didn’t lead to any (confirmed) gay characters showing up in the Abrams-directed The Force Awakens.
Of course, even when the Expanded Universe still held sway, Star Wars didn’t offer up much in the way of same-sex relationships; outside one confirmed married couple in the novels, and a non-canonical lesbian romance in the video game Knights Of The Old Republic, the dating pool in the galaxy far, far away has always been heteronormative to the extreme (give or take an incest kiss here and there, in any case).
Abrams’ comments suggest that might be changing soon, although he’s neither explicitly promising fans a gay character, nor slated to direct any future films in the franchise. Still, he assured reporters at the event, increased Star Wars diversity is coming. “It’s in private meetings, it’s in private phone calls, it’s in interviews,” he said. “I know that this will happen. I know it will. Not just on camera but behind the camera.”