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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has a big LGBTQ moment

Commentary: Representation matters, and the new Star Wars movie delivers … sort of.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker includes not just action-packed duels and space battles, but also a romantic moment between two female characters. 

Lucasfilm

When I watched the original Star Wars films as a young girl in the '70s and '80s, I not only wanted to be Princess Leia (or maybe even Carrie Fisher). I wanted to date her. I didn't know I would identify as bisexual until many years later, but that girl crush on Leia grabbed me from the get-go. Sadly, Leia only had eyes for Han Solo

I've been a Star Wars fan from the time I saw the first movie at a drive-in theater four decades ago. As a kid I twisted my long hair into Princess Leia buns and acted out Star Wars scenes on the school playground. I ended up working for Lucasfilm as an adult, which was a dream come true. Needless to say, my Star Wars fandom runs deep. 

So this week, watching Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, I cheered aloud in a crowded theater when I saw two women kiss passionately on screen. 

spoilers-starwars

For those who might have missed it, the kiss happens in the background between the character Commander Larma D'Acy (played by Amanda Lawrence) and a female Resistance pilot. The smooch takes place at the end of the movie and goes by in a blink, but it was a big deal to me. 

Still, while the kiss was a great and welcome surprise, it should only be considered a positive first step. I wish the movie had at least one LGBTQ main character, and not just two minor characters sharing a three-second kiss. But I remain hopeful. 

Sadly, not everyone is as excited about the kiss as I was. According to reports, the same-sex kiss scene has already been removed from screenings in Dubai.

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Commander Larma D'Acy is played by Amanda Lawrence in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Lucasfilm

I've been waiting to witness a kiss like this in my favorite sci-fi franchise for what feels like forever. Director J.J. Abrams has been hinting since The Force Awakens that Star Wars would eventually have gay characters, and it finally happened. 

"To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility," Abrams said in 2016. "So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn't be a homosexual character in that world."

In 2018, I was also thrilled to see a young Lando Calrissian come out as a possible pansexual character in Solo: A Star Wars Story, because it was the first time I saw a non-straight character thriving in the Star Wars universe. Finally, Star Wars had a main character who wasn't limited in his attraction to one gender. 

I felt vindicated since Star Wars was such a big part of being the proud geek that I am today. This universe defined my geek obsession with Star Wars. 

Even though Donald Glover (the actor who played Lando) "outed" Lando as pansexual during press interviews, fans never got to see him smooch anyone on screen, which would have publicly confirmed Lando's sexuality once and for all. It was still all a bit vague.

Seeing Disney and Lucasfilm approve the addition of a lesbian kiss in a major Star Wars movie is a huge step toward more inclusivity. I am excited to see what the franchise does next to represent more gay characters in a galaxy far, far away.

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Originally published Dec. 20.