While the Star Wars: Episode VII casting announcement got a lot of people very excited after about a year and a half of speculation, it was also notable for a less fun reason: only one female in the new cast of 7, bringing the count to two total main female characters.
The lack of inclusiveness drew ire from fans across the internet, who rightly noted that according to market research and attendance at Star Wars Celebration conventions, the gender split of Star Wars fans is almost exactly 50/50. The lack of representation is one of the things the original trilogy is most criticized for. Go ahead, name another featured or lead female in the original trilogy aside from Leia or Mon Mothma…
Well, buried at the end of an article on THR about how the casting was kept secret (spoiler alert: it was basically through lots of nondisclosure agreements) is a statement by writer Borys Kit that may give some fans a new hope.
Kit reports that, “despite a rush to meet a Dec. 18, 2015, release date, the casting process isn't over. According to sources, at least one major female role remains open.”
Of course, there’s no comment from Disney on the matter, but at least it’s a reliable report from a reporter and source with a positive track record. Another major female role would bring us to a 3:9 ratio (25%), not including the male actors who play the droids C-3PO and R2-D2. Of course, a large ensemble cast will also be involved in this and future episodic Star Wars movies.
The cast of Star Wars Rebels, the new animated series debuting this fall, is doing slightly better, with a ratio of 2:3 for the main heroes, 2:4 when you include the main villain of the Inquisitor.
Interestingly, while many rightfully praise the Expanded Universe - er sorry, Star Wars Legends - for their inclusiveness, thanks to comic books like Star Wars and Star Wars Legacies that feature female leads, or the book and comic series Star Wars: Knight Errant and others, the most well-known Legends story, dealing directly with the legacy of the original three stars, really didn’t add that many more females either. Writers added in Jaina Solo, the daughter of Han and Leia, and Mara Jade, the imperial-turned-Jedi and eventual wife of Luke Skywalker. However, there were also two male children in the Solo family, a multitude of male villains, and even a male Skywalker child added into the mix.
Nevertheless, expect one more female in the main cast. Now about that Bechdel test…