The casting for Star Wars VII is out, and besides everyone’s favorite former bikini-clad slave princess Carrie Fisher, there is only one new female character in anything resembling a major role… out of SEVEN. Throw in the original Boy’s Club cast of six and that’s two out THIRTEEN principles.
This shouldn’t be a big deal, right? There ARE women in Star Wars, just not many with relevant or speaking parts ON FILM. Oh, and the so-dubbed “expanded Star Wars universe” was declared null-and-void and not official movie canon, so apparently there ARE only two relevant women in the entire galaxy. Worse yet, those two are related and the younger one (SPOILER!) died after childbirth – because, you know, that’s what women do: have babies and die. Really?!
Say, isn’t this a J.J.Abrams production? What’s interesting is that his television programming (“Lost,” “Alias,” “Fringe”) have meaty roles for ladies and often many of them, but his film production credits (Star Trek, Cloverfield, Super 8, Mission Impossible) seems to only have room for a chosen few in an ensemble, often ONE. Playing devil’s advocate, maybe this is an informed choice: are relevant female characters too complex for most screenwriters to simply throw them up on-screen and present them believably in a film format?
Show a handsome guy stumbling out of a dark alley with a gunshot wound and we already assume he’s a hero saving the day, but swap that same character out for a woman and we immediately think of her as a victim; am I wrong? While Mr. Hero (if I may crib from Shoot ‘Em Up) is obviously trying to save a dame, Ms. Victim couldn’t possibly have gone into that alley willingly, and if she did, there is obviously something unsavory or less than fetching about her. Perhaps if we reflect upon her back story leading up to this point – something that likely won’t reveal one new thing about Mr. Hero – we’ll certainly be informed of Ms. Victim’s near-or-actual rape, her medicated depression symptoms, or her failed attempts to find a worthy man to call her own. Ugh.
Maybe these writers need to start watching BBC’s “Orphan Black” and see how it’s done (over and over again). All I can think is thank the goddess for Joss Whedon pulling strings in the Marvel Universe of filmmaking – because they’re still asking that question.