Feminism

One Woman in Star Wars is Too Many

The next three Star Wars films are now in production, and a lot of buzz is going around the Internet about the fact that only one new major female character has been added, along with seven men.

Apparently, the uproar caught the attention of J.J. Abrams, who announced that there was one more major role to fill and it would be a woman. Note that this major role didn’t need to be at the table read with every other actor, for some reason.

Personally, I am majorly disappointed to find out that another woman will be added. Wait, hear me out!

The original trilogy also included only one major female character. The trilogy is considered a classic and I personally have fond memories of it from watching and loving it as a youngster. I wish there had been more female characters, because for all the films’ weaknesses, they’ve come through the years regarded as classics. Fine.

The prequels also had one major female character. I think. I can’t be sure, because I fell asleep in the middle of every one. They were some of the worst movies that have ever been made. Ever. Dull, boring, insulting, grating — I wish there had been no women in those movies. When future generations look back at this ridiculous time when Hollywood insisted on churning out film after film told from the perspective of straight young white men, I want them to look at Attack of the Clones and say “Women had nothing to do with that.”

Sure, the next three movies may turn out to be great, but when I look at the evidence, I’m not convinced. Abrams’ Star Trek films have been forgettable brain vacations. Everything George Lucas has had control over for the past two decades has been an unmitigated disaster. There’s a very, very good chance that this next trilogy will be abhorrent.

The last thing women need is for anyone to remember that we insisted another woman get on that sinking ship. I say, let’s let the men have these. Female Star Wars fans can still enjoy Clone Wars and other things in the extended universe, while men can enjoy all the profits, and all of the blame, that comes from the films.

While I’m on the subject, here are some other things that I’d prefer not be “improved” with diversity:

Two and a Half Men
Axe Body Spray
Coors Light
Camouflage cargo shorts
Any movie based on a board game

Men can keep these things. We do not need them.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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37 Comments

  1. April 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm —

    Hey now, Clue is a classic film!

  2. April 30, 2014 at 3:19 pm —

    If it helps, George Lucas doesn’t have control over these movies. He’s listed as a “creative consultant”, I believe. Michael Arndt is writing the script. I’m hoping for much better than the George Lucas Prequel disasters.

  3. April 30, 2014 at 3:20 pm —

    *gazes wistfully at his camouflage cargo shorts*

  4. April 30, 2014 at 3:26 pm —

    I wrote off Star Wars two movies ago. It’s been liberating to not get annoyed at every announcement about the new films. I wish them success, it’s alway nice to have another good film to bring my son to, but I don’t actually care. And I like it that way.

  5. April 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm —

    Even Clue?

  6. April 30, 2014 at 3:41 pm —

    Meh. Culture snobbery.

  7. April 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm —

    So my script for the Agricola film is right out then? How about this Settlers of Catan project?

  8. April 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm —

    Yawn!

    Anyway, as far as movies based on board games, I thought Twister was alright.

    • May 1, 2014 at 9:17 am —

      First thought: the hell? A moment’s reflection…then I loled.

      “There goes another cow! Nope…same cow.”

  9. April 30, 2014 at 3:54 pm —

    I lolled. Thanks Rebecca. :)

  10. April 30, 2014 at 4:03 pm —

    Are there any things which would not be improved by including men ? ;-)

  11. April 30, 2014 at 4:51 pm —

    If its female leads you want, then Game of Thrones is your choice.

    • April 30, 2014 at 5:35 pm —

      So true. I hope the writers don’t screw it up though.

      • May 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm —

        Some of the Tumblrites are complaining about it. But they’re generally good at repeating memes mindlessly. (Cf. #CancelColbert) So it should surprise no one that they think any portrayal of rape is inherently horrible. (And some of us use humor as a coping mechanism.)

        To be fair, D&D already turned Jaime and Cersei’s sex scene into rape. (The scene itself is disturbing even in the books, since it’s in a house of worship, next to their son’s corpse. Oh, and did I mention they’re brother and sister and have three children? Because that’s pretty disturbing.)

  12. April 30, 2014 at 4:56 pm —

    Rebecca Watson

    “Everything George Lucas has had control over for the past two decades has been an unmitigated disaster. There’s a very, very good chance that this next trilogy will be abhorrent.”

    Speak for yourself. I loved the original Star Wars trilogy as well as the prequel trilogy, and most of the things I’ve seen that George Lucas worked on, I thought were pretty good.

    • April 30, 2014 at 5:39 pm —

      “Speak for yourself.”

      I always do!

    • April 30, 2014 at 6:45 pm —

      Haha! We will…we will also disagree. I’m not going to look it up, because it hurt too much the first time I heard it, but Natalie Portman has three of the most hackneyed, worthless lines of dialog back to back to back in Revenge. It went something like, “I don’t know who you are anymore. Obi-Wan was right. You’ve changed.” And then in a world where full-replacement prosthetics exist, bacta tanks are a thing that can revive you from near death, and Darth Vader himself stands as a testament to medical technology making damn near anything survivable, she dies because “sad.”

      Personally, I’m gonna GWR on this one.

      • April 30, 2014 at 8:47 pm —

        I think that’s actually the single worst part in an already awful series of movies. Padme had to die, the writers really had no choice because the original trilogy set up that Luke and Leia are both raised by adoptive families. But her death was just so utterly meaningless in the end. It would have been much better if killing Padme outright (and believing he’d also killed their babies) had actually been Anakin’s last step to fully embracing the Dark Side and becoming Vader. Destroying the last bit of sympathy we might have had for him even after slaughtering little kids. Just so many bad decisions in that movie.

        One of my friends has a brilliant theory that honestly makes the prequels make more sense. Obi Wan is actually Sith and deliberately manipulating Anakin to the Dark Side.

        • April 30, 2014 at 11:22 pm —

          Noadi,

          But than the original trilogy doesn’t make much sense. Also why was there no sign in any of the films that Obi Wan is helping the emperor, or trying to cease power for himself? I think that actually makes the films make less sense by far.

      • May 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm —

        Anakin’s line in Attack is worse than anything in Revenge, though. But again, it’s about Padmé. “Believe me, I wish I could just wish for a wish to wish away my wish…”

        (Note to self: Create abridged Star Wars and put that line in.)

  13. April 30, 2014 at 11:58 pm —

    Whoa….. whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa…. WHOA! You leave Clue alone now, you hear?

  14. May 1, 2014 at 12:03 am —

    Excuse me, Rebecca. Ever hear of a little movie called JUMANJI?!!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!!!?!?!?!??! The BEST board game movie ever made!!!!!

    (Yes I know the movie was not actually based on a board game, it was ABOUT a fictional board game, I’m hoping the ridiculous use of punctuation indicates my lack of seriousness)

    • May 1, 2014 at 8:07 am —

      Oh so you’re disparaging the over use of punctuation now!?!?!?!!! How dare you suggest that overusing punctuation is a sign of lack of seriousness!!!!1!

      1!

  15. May 1, 2014 at 1:43 am —

    I’m totally with you on this!

    Although | still have a glimmer of hope (a fool’s hope perhaps), that the new trilogy will not suck.
    The new Star Trek movies, especially Into Darkness, were nothing more than generic sci-fi action flicks and had nothing of the intelligence and depth of the original movies.
    (Don’t even get me started on Into Darkness, that was possibly the most convoluted, ridiculous plot I’ve seen in at least a decade).

    If J.J. brings this same ‘vision’ (or lack thereof) to this franchise, how can it not fail?
    The best we can hope for is a decent movie with a terrible ending (as Lost and Fringe have demonstrated).

    • May 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm —

      Star Wars is more “fantasy in a science fiction setting”, though. Also, only half of the Star Trek movies are good. (Then again, I didn’t like Star Trek IV because it wasn’t very subtle with its environmental message: “Save the whales, or they will kill you!”)

      Also, the first of the reboot movies basically ripped off Star Wars.

  16. May 1, 2014 at 7:56 am —

    The forgotten hero of the original trilogy, Marcia Lucas: http://secrethistoryofstarwars.com/marcialucas.html

  17. May 1, 2014 at 10:00 am —

    The last thing women need is for anyone to remember that we insisted another woman get on that sinking ship

    He. Excellent point.

  18. May 1, 2014 at 10:20 am —

    Ms. Watson, I joined Skepchick just now so I could comment here – this is a good, rational place to discuss this. All of the attention has always been on how many women are ON screen. The real ‘Women in Hollywood’ issue is how many women are BEHIND the screen. Here is a challenge – take ANY set of film credits and count girl names. Names like “Dale” or “Alex” can be counted as girls, although you never know. You’ll notice a trend – there are about 400 men’s names to every woman’s one. Most of the women will be found in wardrobe and makeup, but rarely in other creative roles and almost never in techincal ones. This is what we have to change. As a former film and tv animator, I watched for friends’ names in credits for years and noticed it was all the guys who kept working.

  19. May 1, 2014 at 4:19 pm —

    Hmm. Kind of a toss up for me. Now, I know the books are not “canon”, but, its not terribly feasible to avoid pissing off people that read the bloody books, by completely ignoring them either. So.. Lets see – we have Mara Jade coming in to the “start”. We have the Solo’s daughter. We have, maybe, the daughter of Boba Fett. Later on, after one of the sons of the various match ups goes nuts and turns all dark side, we have the Solo’s adopted daughter. There is another chancellor, or what ever, that sides with the Mandolorians, against the new Jedi order, for various insane reasons too. But, there are only two of them, plausibly, that might show up in any of the new movies, since those are all going to be set in the period “prior” to much of this stuff happening. In fact, the first instance of even Mara showing up, in the books, is set “before” the final Death Star is destroyed, in fact, before Hoth, when Luke ends up in the middle of some mess with the hostage of the daughter of someone working to help the rebels, and bump into Mara, while she is actually mixed up in the same thing, from the other side. Your guess is as good as mine of they plan to “fit” that into any of the movies, or the fact that the whole rebel alliance was, initially, manufactured by the Emperor, as a means to flush out his enemies (by putting them all in one conveniently destroyable place), and then lost all control over it when it took off in the wrong direction from his plans.

    But, like I said, no telling how much of the non-canon story they are likely to use, but.. its just.. WTF for people to go whining about breaking it even more, just because the “early” story arc only calls for one major female lead. That is just bloody stupid, especially given the number that “are” in there, further down the road, if it *at all* follows the books. Heck, if they decided to make them, there are whole entire bloody series that center “only” on female Jedi in some parts of the whole expanded universe mess.

  20. May 1, 2014 at 5:39 pm —

    Axe body spray…I wouldn’t change a thing there. :)

  21. May 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm —

    The prequels came off as misogynistic to me. Now, I knew Padmé would die. But still, the idea that their affair would make him evil? What did Marcia do to you, George?

  22. May 4, 2014 at 12:52 am —

    Err. That is a kind of odd interpretation.. No, the problem was that his trajectory, and friendship with Palpatine was setting him on a collision course with a situation where he would react as he did, seeing the Jedi as a threat, Obi Wan being there on the planet as a betrayal, and his anger getting the better of him. The fact that he kept it from the Jedi, chose to remain one (his only other option was to stop being one), and tried to “win” a war that had been staged by the very man who he thought a friend, and believed would help him save her from the fate he had nightmares about, drove him over the edge. Its another one of those things that is better understood in the expanded universe books, in this case, specifically “Darth Plagueis”, but also “The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader”. The son of Lea and Han Solo, also named Anakin, follows much the same path, for similar reasons. He sees his daughter, “Standing at the side of a Sith lord, who is himself sitting on the ‘Throne of Balance”. Not sure if that is a literal throne, or partly symbolic, or what, but it seems to imply some connection to “which” side of the force has control at the time, and in his attempts to figure out how to prevent this future from coming to pass he finds that the *only* path open to him is to turn to the dark side, to derail the events that would lead to that result. The consequence in the books ends up being the release of something vastly worse, the abandonment of the temple on Coruscant, due to numerous reasons, not the least of which being Anakin Solo’s actions, distrust of those that worked with him, without realizing how far he was falling, etc. Not to mention, it getting attacked again, this time by the planetary government, whose leader goes a bit nuts, and hires our favorite race of mercs to “protect her” from the “evil Jedi who are plotting against every attempt to ‘fix’ the rift between the old empire (those still serving what was once Palpatines side), and the New Republic.

    The whole thing is complicated by a mess of other stuff going on, but.. yeah…

    In any case, it wasn’t the relationship that did it, it was the premonition that she would die, which every single bloody thing he did, including siding with Palpatine, on the promise that his old master had imparted to him the means to prevent one’s loved ones from dying on them, which led both to the darkside, and, as a consequence her death, as a direct consequence. Had he not obsessed over every person he had ever lost, and losing yet someone else he loved (the Jedi solution) it wouldn’t have happened. **If** he had admitted the relationship, again, there is some chance that, while the order would have reacted by taking away his bus pass, or the like, (Revan and others where forbidden access to the temple, or students, for this sort of thing, in the past, and left out of the order’s dealings to a great extents, but not.. stripped of their light sabers, or the like), but its not certain what would really have happened. At most, its unlikely he would have been in a position to find out what Palpatine was, then panic, when Windu tried to kill him. He might, in fact, have found out earlier, or realized what the war really was, and that the Jedi couldn’t win one where both sides served the same enemy. Any number of different outcomes where possible, but **not** so long as he kept assuming things where as they seemed, and that the threat to Padme was connected to the war, instead of his own actions and decisions.

    But, yeah, its a lot less clear what took place, how, why, and how all the events, and the decisions he made because of them, from even before he was found on Tatooine drove him towards failing to understand the warnings, or the direction of his descent.

    The Jedi.. where not equipped to do so. The lesson they learned from the first fall was, “The dark side is always dangerous.”, the lesson they learned from those conflicts that followed was, “Even the best can fall to it.”. By the time they reached Anakin’s time they where taking children so young they barely had developed personalities, and indoctrinating them into the Jedi way, because they *thought* they had learned, “If one never has a chance to fall, they can’t be tempted by the dark side.” The lesson they needed to have learned, to help Anikan, and which they refused to, every single time someone came along and rescued the order, often out of darkness themselves, was, “There needs to be a balance, because an unprepared mind cannot see the darkness coming, or stop themselves from falling.”, hence the Jedi turning on each other, towards the end of the Clone Wars cartoon, and some of them, in the same series, concluding they would rather be on the “winning side”, and so much else that fractures and fell to chaos in the conflict. As Sideous states, in “Darth Plagueis”, at one point, “The only way the Jedi could have won this conflict is by failing to participate.”, but.. they where incapable of doing so. Just as incapable as they where, having, every single one of them, never been Anikin, or anything like him, to understand how to guide him.

  23. June 18, 2014 at 6:13 am —

    Say what you will about the ungodly trilogy (1,2,3) but you can’t say that Abrams has “added” anything. A lot of people (including you) have failed to realize that this is actually a book tie-in (Heir To The Empire) and not a standalone film. All the characters in the film are from the book.

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