We live in a very delicate time. Not to get all political on this site about superheroes and aliens, but in a world that’s pushing for more diversity, there definitely seems to be something of a backlash. Ghostbusters received tremendous backlash for its female cast prior to a single minute being filmed, and while I can’t say I heard any comments about Daisy Ridley getting cast as Rey for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as soon as it was clear that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story would have a female at the forefront, some fans (a minority, mind you) expressed irritation of having yet another female-led Star Wars film.
The folks over at the New York Times were obviously privy to this perspective, and while interviewing both actress Felicity Jones and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, they brought up this very issue on some folks being annoyed at what they view as political correctness.
Jones gave a very cordial, neutral response, saying:
“We wanted the audience to relate to Jyn as a person, whether you’re a boy or a girl, a man or a woman.”
Though as neutral of a response it was, it is important to say that at the end of the day, these characters are people (well, except for the aliens), and it’s generally through their humanity that we connect, not usually their race or sex.
Kennedy, however, was a bit less neutral in her response. We wouldn’t necessarily say she was abrasive about it, but she came from a very pragmatic perspective:
“I have a responsibility to the company that I work with. I don’t feel that I have a responsibility to cater in some way. I would never just seize on saying, ‘Well, this is a franchise that’s appealed primarily to men for many, many years, and therefore I owe men something.’”
Despite the fact that Star Wars is indeed a franchise that seemed to mostly appeal to men (or boys, initially), the fact is that we live in a world where formerly-geeky things are mainstream. A world where girls were raised on Star Wars just as much as boys. Plus, from a purely business standpoint, women make up half of the population, and therefore can potentially make up half of tickets sold. Now, I’m not saying they need to exclusively cater to women, but to actually include them in their films makes a whole lot of sense.
In addition to that, there is something kind of beautiful in how Rogue One flips the script on Star Wars: A New Hope, as described by director Gareth Edwards.
“A New Hope is the story of a boy who grows up in a tranquil home and dreams of joining a war. What if we have the story of a girl who grows up in a war and dreams of returning to the tranquillity of home?”
Pretty cool idea. Never really thought of it that way.
What do you think of Jones’, Edwards’ and Kennedy’s comments? Where do you stand on this issue? Do you feel like two female-led Star Wars films is just political correctness? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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SOURCE: New York Times