Take note Star Wars fans! We are being treated to the first canonical LGBT character in the universe made so brilliantly created by George Lucas. A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, there lived an Imperial named Mors. No green skin, no prehensile tail with spikes, just your run-of-the-mill space lesbian making her debut in the upcoming novel, Star Wars: Lords of the Sith. More info after the jump….
Star Wars: Lords of the Sith, an upcoming novel from author Paul S. Kemp introduces the first lesbian character to the official canon, indeed the first LGBT character to the franchise thus far – well, kind of. You see when Disney bought the rights a few years back, they discontinued all expanded universe titles as non-canon, thus performing a soft-reboot of what had become a rich back-catalog over the past twenty years. As a result, LBGT characters seen in previous Star Wars media such as a Legacy of the Force, Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: The Old Republic were abandoned.
Kemp shared a little bit about the character Moff Mors:
… an Imperial who has made some very serious mistakes but she is an incredibly capable leader and spends much of the book working hard to prevent absolute failure. She also happens to be a lesbian.
Del Rey (the science fiction/fantasy imprint of Random House Publishing) editor Shelly Shapiro told Big Shiny Robot in a recent interview that Mors’ inclusion wasn’t supposed to send a message, but rather be a reflection of our reality.
It’s not something I really think about, it just makes sense. There’s a lot of diversity – there should be diversity in Star Wars. You have all these different species and it would be silly not to also recognize that there’s a lot of diversity in humans. If there’s any message at all, it’s simply that Star Wars is as diverse (or more so because they have alien species) as humanity is in real life and we don’t want to pretend it’s not. It just felt perfectly natural.
Initial reactions to such a character receiving attention might be “so what” or “what’s the need to point out her sexuality?” For decades the vision of science-fiction has been, in part, to imagine a futuristic time where the struggles of humanity might transcend our worldly anchors. To help its audience imagine more broad landscapes that aren’t tied down by narrow conceptions of social constructs. In the 1960s Star Trek forced a conversation about race by showcasing the first network television on-screen interracial kiss between Nichelle Nichols and William Shatner. It helped Americans to contextualize their fears, and create a dialogue where there wasn’t one previously. By having the narrative be unflinching with such a kiss, it forced its viewers to challenge their preconceptions about what it meant to negatively react to something so seemingly neutral, even trivial.
The same is true for depictions of LGBT characters in science-fiction. “So what?” “It’s not about sending a message.” The mere inclusion of such characters broadens the tapestry of the narrative, and perhaps influences it’s audience in ways they might not realize. Indeed, when I was young and watching Star Wars, Star Trek and reading comic books I longed for a character that was LGBT, if for no other reason than to a piece of myself in these stories. I wanted to know that while kids like me had to go to school and be bullied or be closeted, that somewhere among the stars there might be another place where that didn’t matter. The job of science-fiction and fantasy isn’t done in service to kids like me, but if you can tell a broad story that appeals to many people and is good, then why not?
Welcome to the fold, Moff Mors – but watch your back! Sith are dangerous folks to rub elbows with…
Star Wars: Lords of the Sith is released on April 28th, 2015.