Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lady Wars

Space, the final frontier. All those galaxies far, far away.* And still, STILL, just one chick. The new “Star Wars” cast was announced yesterday and it is an admittedly interesting roster filled with oddballs packing indie cred and newcomers making everyone run to IMDB to figure out who the fuck they were. The full announcement:

The Star Wars team is thrilled to announce the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.
The most encouraging thing about the new cast announcement was the placement of British actor John Boyega’s name first. Placement in Hollywood is important and if your name comes first in a list there’s a good chance you will be the lead of the project. Another notable thing about John Boyega, because again he’s a British actor best known for the film “Attack of the Block” that many American audiences may not be familiar with, is he is black. Let’s take a moment and bask in the wonderfulness of one of the biggest movie franchises in the entire universe featuring a black male lead. So I very much hope the order of the names is indicative of importance, and not just a cheap way to trumpet its inclusiveness.

Now, back to the other notable thing from that announcement. That’s British actress Daisy Ridley who was the one female named in the big cast reveal. Yes, only one new female lead. We can only hope her character gets a chance to talk with Carrie Fisher in something other than a hologram, or this film will surely fail the Bechdel Test. I don’t know why this should surprise me, since the original trilogy failed the Bechdel Test as well. But I had hoped that 37 years later filmmakers might have caught on that girls like space, too.

Alas, nope. While I certainly applaud what I hope is a long-awaited step forward in racial diversity (think about it, how many other current movie franchise has a non-white leads – NOT THAT MANY), I am completely bummed they couldn’t find at least one more new woman to occupy the vastness of space with Daisy Ridley.

This production shot released by Lucasfilms is beyond telling. Fifteen people in the room, three women in the group. I wish I was shocked, but mostly I’m just continually disappointed. How did we become so conditioned to think these kind of ratios are OK when the world we live in looks so very different? We are 51 percent of the population, yet still too few people blink an eye at such unbalanced ratios.

How sad that we still cannot boldly go where no woman has gone before – namely to give a gal a couple fucking female friends in space.

p.s. According to The Hollywood Reporter, sources close to “Star Wars” (and “Star Trek” – basically all of the “Star” movies) director J.J. Abrams say he has another substantial role to fill — and it's a female part. Two roles out of eight. Burn those bras, ladies. WE HAVE ARRIVED.

*Yes, I am intentionally mixing my Star franchise metaphors. Since Hollywood decided the same one dude gets to be in charge of both universes now, I’ll do what I damn well want, thank you very much.


Emma said...

John Boyega isn't going to be the male lead- this list is just for the supporting characters. Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford are the male leads. So it's not as great as you thought.

Anonymous said...

I was alwyas unhappy with the StarWars franchises when with all those background players not ONE pilot or ground fighter was a woman, NOT ONE! and don't even get me started are the lack of main character females. I had momentary hopes duing the second trilogy when on of the Jedi was a woman...but she died. I mean have these GUYS not seen the woman and con?!?!?

tam said...

I am SO NOT interested in this new film. Not sure I was that interested in the last one, but the world has moved on a lot since then. Movies with predominant male storylines don't get airplay with me anymore.eicGuel

Anonymous said...

Please, don't call the Abrams abominations Star Trek, they're not. They're unoriginal ego trips by someone who somehow has blackmail material on way too many power players in Hollywood.