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RUMOR: Two New Female Roles for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII?

When the complete cast for Star Wars: Episode VII was announced a few weeks back, the internet just about broke in half; but after the dust settled and we all calmed down a bit from our nerdgasms, we noticed that there was one glaring problem with this new cast… there was only one new female character among the seven new cast members. While one major female character might have been okay for 1977, it is glaringly out of date for today, especially when there are so many female fans of the franchise. Fairly quickly (as in, the very same day the cast was announced) it was reported that indeed there would be at least another female role in Star Wars Episode VII, and that she simply remained uncast up to this point. The internet calmed down a little bit more after that. But just a smidge.

Well, today we learned that it might be not just one new female role, but two. The first is a name we’d heard before, Oxford actress Maisie Richardson-Sellers. According to a report from Latino-Review, she has been seen around the production offices for Star Wars, and I would say there’s a good chance she’s not just there hanging out. The other actress is Katie Jarvis, a British actress best known for her role in a movie called Fishtank. The original Michael Arndt draft for Episode VII was set to feature multiple female parts, but the script was later re-written by JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan. Could they be re-thinking their approach to the whole sausage party in a galaxy far, far away, now that they have come under such scrutiny? I know JJ Abrams wants a Star Wars that is far more inclusive than what we’ve had so far, and this would be a good step in the right direction.

Star Wars: Episode VII just began principal photography this week, so if there are going to be new cast members, male or female, it’s not something Disney can keep under wraps for very much longer.

Could Katie Jarvis be another child of Han and Leia? I see a little bit of Carrie Fisher in that side-eye

Could Katie Jarvis be another child of Han and Leia? I see a little bit of Carrie Fisher in that side-eye.

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20 comments

  • Rather than having a certain number and kind of people, how about we just based it off of their talent and acting ability? I just want actors who fit the Star Wars universe who are good at what they do. Whether they are male or women, black or white, or robot or human, really shouldn’t matter as long as the Star Wars Universe is being well represented. I am a 26 y/o female nerd who has read the Star Wars novels and loves the universe!

  • Guys, I get that the whole idea that there’s a quote to be met is one that seems stupid and limiting on the surface, but if movies were actually trying to create a plausible world where the people we actually see in everyday life were represented properly, this wouldn’t have to be a thing!
    If your movie is full a disproportionate amount of white guys, you’re not reflecting real life, like, at all. It looks false, because you walk out your front door and the world is not full of all white guys, and it shouldn’t be in movies either. That’s why people get frustrated and start demanding more of certain types of people – because we’re not getting it when we don’t demand!
    It’s not about figures, it’s about having a cast that reflects the kind of peoples that actually exist, and not just one with a few tokens thrown in.

    Thought experiment: If you’re a guy and you think it’s silly to bring up that characters are overwhelmingly male, just imagine if it were the other way around and a huge amount of movies and tv shows featured mostly women, maybe with one sexy guy thrown in as a token here and there.
    Would you be cool with that? Or would you start to care that guys were woefully under-represented?

    • Who says the goal is to “create a plausible world where the people we actually see in everyday life were represented properly?” Most films are not supposed to be statistically accurate documentaries; they are supposed to tell compelling stories and sell tickets. That is especially true in the case of nerdy films like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings which do not even take place in a fictional version of this world, but in a completely fantastical setting that has its own fantastical demographics. 
      And to answer your “thought experiment” I don’t think very many guys complain about Sex and the City or Desperate Housewives as being sexist (or is “problematic” the polite word to use?) just because they have predominantly female casts. Most guys just choose not to watch stuff that doesn’t represent their interests or that they don’t relate to, instead of storming the internet with digital pitchforks and demanding that a professional storyteller’s creativity should be restricted by considerations of demographic representativeness or political correctness. 
      Here’s a *real* experiment for you, see how many tweets, op-eds, blog posts, or tumblr accounts you can find that are dedicated to complaining about either a lack of male representation (as in Sex and the City) or negative male representation (as in Everybody Loves Raymond or a similar story populated by useless, dopey, men who need their wives or mothers to feed, dress, and bathe them, or as in the fact that the wealthy white male is almost a sure bet to be the villain, every time), and then see how many you can find complaining about underrepresentation of women (like the response to the EP VII casting news), or poor representation (“why is she just the love interest/a stripper/a macguffin for the male hero/etc?”). 

    • is it a good story, because that is all i care about. you cast for the story you want to tell, no to meet a quota. anyone ever notice the gender inequality in nolan movies? just look at the number of white men to any other group. but no one complains, so why start now?

      • But that’s the point, it shouldn’t have to be a quota. If script writers and casting directors are doing their jobs properly, they should just naturally be reflecting the world we live in without people having to point out that the world isn’t, in fact, 90% white or male.

        It’s not relective of real life, it’s limiting and biased, it’s alienating a huge amount of media consumers, so why should it continue? What reason can anyone give for not wanting a more inclusive world portrayed? And that’s not saying ‘X amount of characters *have* to be non white or women’, it’s saying ‘write awesome characters of all different races, with men and women.’

        Character portrayal is a huge part of the story after all. If there’s no logical reason for your story to be told with mostly white men, then why are you telling it that way?

        • you can’t start handicapping writers like that. as a writer myself, you write what comes natural. and for a lot of people, when it comes to sci fi/fantasy, men come natural. and there is nothing wrong with wanting more diverse cast but you can’t make that priority. if in the writers head, he see 6 white males and  1 female, than that’s what should be on the page. it’s so hard to write a good script, adding political correctness to the process would make it that much harder.

  • the best thing that the Patriarchy ever achieved was making women think exposed sexuality and violence is a part of the female Liberation. If you see Women Heroines in a Film they are mostly “hyper sexy” in latex clothing and behave like violent guys-TOMB RAIDER, Resident Evil Phenomenon. So what defines a female Character in a Film? Sexy-Violent? Really? So nobody complains about that?

  • It’s not a star wars thing it’s universal. Considering over 50% of the population is female – only 20% of films have a female protagonist. And a lot of those are films about trying to find a man. It’s not a myth that there are female nerds and I don’t think it makes anyone high and mighty for wanting to see women kicking ass too.

    • the best thing that the Patriarchy ever achieved was making women think exposed sexuality and violence is a part of the female Liberation. If you see Women Heroines in a Film they are mostly “hyper sexy” in latex clothing and behave like violent guys-TOMB RAIDER, Resident Evil Phenomenon. So what defines a female Character in a Film? Sexy-Violent? Really? So nobody complains about that? 

      • Girls should be able to hold their own in stories with violent environments. I have no probably with female characters like Lara or Jill Valentine getting their hands dirty, because that’s what the stories demand and why should they be any less tough or willing to fight than a male lead? The hyper sexualization without context is definitely a problem though.

    • Yep because all of my black friends are SOOO upset that the number of black guys in Star Wars is not meeting up with the affirmative action quota.

  • Blah blah blah…. I mean really? People just need to stop whining about how many men/women roles there are and just let JJ tell the story that he’s trying to tell. After all isn’t that what it’s all about..great story telling…a good movie? Who ever said there had to be “X” amount of roles for this or that gender. People just need to get over themselves. In trying to please everyone you’ll end up pleasing no one.

    • Surely part of great storytelling is creating a believable world? Is it a believable world is you’re constructing that world to be disproportionately male and white to a degree that doesn’t reflect real life at all?
      There doesn’t need to be a perfect percentage quota met in every single story, but a realistic reflection of the kinds of people you see existing every single day isn’t too much to ask for, is it?

      Why is it “blah blah blah” to ask for one specific type of person to not be so overwhelmingly featured in every kind of media?

  • i love how everyone and their mom are complaining about the lack of females in the cast but don’t bring up the lack of color in the cast……is that type of non inclusion ok?

    • No. It is not okay. We need more people paying attention to that and talking about it. I don’t want to give my money to movies that ignore a huge percentage of the world. It is ridiculous. 

      • Blah blah blah…. I mean really? People just need to stop whining about how many men/women roles there are and just let JJ tell the story that he’s trying to tell. After all isn’t that what it’s all about..great story telling…a good movie? Who ever said there had to be “X” amount of roles for this or that gender. People just need to get over themselves. In trying to please everyone you’ll end up pleasing no one.