The Force Awakens producer Kathleen Kennedy and I have one thing in common. We’ve often struggled to identify with any strong female characters in the Star Wars film franchise because – as I said when Felicity Jones’ Rogue One was announced – there really aren’t that many.
“The interesting thing is that originally I don’t think I had a lot of choices,” Kennedy admitted when asked during The Force Awakens Panel at the Star Wars Celebration which character from the Star Wars universe she’d choose to be.
“But that’s going to change”, she added. “Going forward, with all we’re talking about, there are going to be a lot of wonderful new [female] characters.”
Needless to say, I was utterly delighted to discover that Disney plans to place more fierce females at the centre of the action as the story of Star Wars continues to unfold, and couldn’t help but wonder about the characters they might play.
New female lead Rey seems A-OK: a seriously savvy scavenger living in a spaceship graveyard, she can even run away from explosions on her own. And we haven’t been forced to watch her break down in tears over a boy like Luke and Leia’s mummy.
(Speaking of Padme, why George Lucas? WHY?)
But as wonderful as it is to know we’ll have a strong female lead in Daisy Ridley’s Rey, couldn’t we do with a female villain too?
And no, I’m not talking about another bit-party bounty hunter like Episode II’s Zam Wessell.
The expanded Star Wars universe is jam-packed with complex female characters who’ve given Luke, Leia and Han a Kessell Run for their money, including Mara Jade (former Hand of the Emperor turned Jedi Knight/Mrs Luke Skywalker) and female Sith Darth Traya/Kreia (from video game Knights of The Old Republic II) to name but a very few.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a woman was leading the new First Order (the new name for The Empire, or so we believe) and keeping The Resistance (that’s what they’re calling Episode VII’s answer to The Rebel Alliance) on its toes?
If Kathleen Kennedy’s words are to really ring true, it’s high time Star Wars cast a female villain. That said, who’s to say they haven’t already?
Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie’s characters have yet to be revealed but speculation is rife that Game of Thrones’ Brienne of Tarth could actually be the mysterious Chrome Trooper. If so, it looks like women in the Star Wars universe have come a long way from gold bikinis.
And with Kylo Ren’s identity still a closely guarded official secret (though rumour has it Adam Driver will play the triple blade lightsaber wielding fiend) we could be forgiven for wondering if a female Sith might yet strike back…
Women can be just as bad as men you know…
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is in UK cinemas from December 18th
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