As I watch the trailer to Star Wars: The Force Awakens incessantly, and try to dissect who is who and where is the one actress who I have been anxiously anticipating for with baited breath; I am reminded of the fact that this is history in the making. A Star Wars trailer opens with the voices of two women one asks, “Who Are You?” and the other who answers “I’m no one”.
Twitter was buzzing and the popular consensus is that Lupita Nyong’o who is playing Maz Kanata; a rogue pirate is asking the question. I wrote an article several months ago about my contempt for the idea of a CGI’d Lupita. And although she has yet to make an appearance in any of the Star Wars trailers, I have some concerns of how Maz Kanata will turn out. However, along with Maz being a mystery to fans so are Andy Serkis as Snoke and Luke Skywalker himself played by Mark Hamill.
So rather than focus on what was missing, I want to just assert again how awesome Episode 7 will be for women and geeks of color. I think it’s important to note that in spite of the racist vitriol that has come down the pipeline from so many “alleged” Star Wars fans who are just racist morons that take issue with a Finn being Black, that there is a major silver lining to be seen with this historical film.
Here is the thing we should all start paying attention to here. The women are in fact the force to be reckoned with. Let’s think about how Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope was a total dudefest. Carrie Fisher was holdin it down for ALL of us and that’s a lot of weight to carry as the only girl. Yes we have had other roles filled by women between New Hope and The Force Awakens, but now we have evolved to a lead protagonist like Rey played by Daisy Ridley. We also have Gwendoline Christie a who is a commanding officer to Finn; we got a sneak peek at her in the second trailer released. Finally, we have Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata who is a rogue pirate that leads a band of misfits. I think this is progress. These are just principal characters and we have yet to see more supporting roles that will possibly be filled by women.
To add the icing on the cake Kathleen Kennedy, the president of LucasFilm has stated that there is no doubt that a woman will be directing the next Star Wars film. This again is progress since women are so heavily marginalized in the film industry and science fiction genre is notorious for being a boy’s club. I just want to take note that amongst all the noise that The Force Awakens has on social media; the movie will leave a legacy of opportunity that we quite haven’t seen before.
So when I ask the question “who are you?” My response is, “I’m no one…until now.
Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens opens up in theaters nationwide on December 18th 2015