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Mors is a lesbian, and is described by geek news site Big Shiny Robot as someone who “made some very serious mistakes but… is an incredibly capable leader.” We’re guessing her first mistake was choosing to work for the Empire.
It may sound somewhat belated to announce the franchise’s first LGBT character in 2015, but she’s actually just the first example in the new canon. Last year, Lucasfilm announced that the entire Expanded Universe of Star Wars novels, comic books and other tie-ins was no longer official canon. Given the popularity of the Expanded Universe, this was a controversial decision. But by reducing the official canon to the six existing movies and the Clone Wars TV series, Lucasfilm made things a lot simpler for the upcoming sequels, which would have overlapped with many of the older novels and comics.
As Big Shiny Robot points out, there were a handful queer characters in the Expanded Universe. Karen Traviss’s Legend of the Force books included a gay couple who are listed as married in the Star Wars wiki Wookieepedia, and Bioware game Star Wars: The Old Republic added same-gender romance options in a 2012 expansion pack—although some fans described this as “gay ghetto” because it wasn’t included in the basic version of the game.
On the Full of Sith podcast, Star Wars book editor Shelly Shapiro stated that Moff Mors’ role was not intended with any particular message in mind. “There’s a lot of diversity,” she said. “There should be diversity in Star Wars. You have all these different species and it would be silly to not also recognize that there’s a lot of diversity in humans.”
The casting of Star Wars: The Force Awakens suggests that future installments will be more diverse than the first six movies, which were dominated by straight, white male characters. As it stands, it would be pretty ridiculous if Star Wars failed to add more queer characters to its new canon.
Given the conservative nature of Hollywood blockbusters, we doubt there will be any overt references to LGBT characters in the movies. However, introducing a wider range of sexual orientations in the new extended canon is a good start.
Photo via Kneoh/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor