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SWTV Diversity Thread

Discussion in 'Star Wars TV' started by AkashKedavra_93, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. TaradosGon Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 5
    When it comes to diversity, I wish they would just do it like Star Trek did. I mean, Star Trek had the first interracial kiss on television iirc (Kirk and Uhura), and it featured a Russian and American aboard the same ship during a time when the Cold War was ongoing irl. So, OOU these things were huge, but IU, nobody really called attention to it. Uhura was just a member of the crew, same as any other. Nobody called attention to the fact that she was black. OOU, obviously people took notice, but IU it represented an ideal situation in which all of these characters, regardless of background could be coequal without any kind of attention called to characters being of different races. And Kirk never sat down with Chekhov and reminisced about the time the US and Russia were competing world powers. It showed these things as how they would ideally be, not in a way that bore resemblance to the racial attitudes or Russian-American relations of the time.

    So, when they throw in diversity of characters, like if they ever include openly gay characters on screen, it's not like they need to make a big deal of it, or show the rest of the characters as bigots or make any kind of issue out of it. Just show perfectly amicable relationships between heterosexual and homosexual characters (and I by no means am implying that anyone was arguing to the contrary).

    The New 52 Teen Titans for instance introduced a gay character named Bunker. And while he acts effeminate, and I read an interview where the author (Scott Lobdell) said he wanted this character to be instantly recognized as gay - I don't know if that's in poor taste or not when it comes to those in the LBGT community - arguing that he wanted to embrace homosexuality entirely, including the more flamboyant types. But really, this character's sexual orientation was explicitly addressed only once (I only read the first volume). Wonder Girl says something to him that was perceived to be flirting, and Bunker responds with "you do know I'm gay, right?" And then she just makes a remark about how she didn't know and things move on. It's just a very harmless matter-of-fact "I'm gay" "oh OK" kind of exchange. Not something that needed to be elaborated on, not something that was made a big deal of, not something that caused Wonder Girl to really think of him any differently (other than not being available), and nothing that attracted any kind of bigotry.

    Like Star Trek did with Uhura and Chekhov, it was just a very straight forward and unapologetic presence of this character, maintaining perfectly amicable relations with the characters around him, regardless of how controversial it might be to some people.

    I think Star Wars - or some other property geared towards kids - will just have to make a leap and do such a thing, regardless of apprehensions of certain segments of the population. Star Trek DS9 also had a female-female kiss, and I remember hearing about how there were a lot of letters written to CBS criticizing this and how people didn't want to see this or were angry that their kids saw this, etc. And how they almost pulled the episode and replaced it with an edited version, but apparently decided that no, they were going to show this and not kowtow to those that have a problem with it.

    If Star Wars showed something as simple as a G-rated homosexual kiss, I'd imagine that LFL and/or Disney would still get a lot of flak for it. But they should grow a pair and do it anyway. When it is shown in media that something is socially acceptable, it can sway the opinions of those that see it.

    I don't know many gay people (or many that I know to be gay, anyway), but I do have a gay coworker, and I know he struggles with how society reacts to his sexual orientation all the time. He's constantly preoccupied with it. I mean, he proposed to his boyfriend, but gay marriage is not legal in this state, and there's a very large population of a certain religious group that is very much anti-gay, so that creates a whole hell of a lot of anxiety for him as he's constantly following court appeals and protests in the name of ending discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    Now, it's not like Rebels is going to all of a sudden make his life better, if it includes a gay character (I'm going to wager that he's not aware of the show and wouldn't watch it, even if he was), but it can still help to instill the notion in kids at a young age that being gay is OK, and show them other characters that do not respond to a character's sexual orientation with any kind of negative sentiment.
    Last edited by TaradosGon, Mar 2, 2014
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  2. Praenomen Cognomen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2013
    star 4
    I really think the most practical, disarming way to do it would be to introduce it in the form of a character, but not necessarily expressed through a romance. It individualizes the issue, and creates a much more dynamic character for whom it's only a part of their personality. That's why Harkness works; he wasn't introduced as a part of a romantic plot, but just as a character who had a lot of room to grow outside that facet of his identity.

    On top of that, I'd be OK with them simply refusing to introduce a hetero romance that gets taken anywhere an LBGT romance wouldn't also be allowed to go. Because, frankly, there is an inherent sexual connotation to any romantic plotline---no matter how innocent---which often gets whitewashed into kind of an effed-up fantasy. I dunno... I'm just weird about "teen romance" plots of all sorts. There's a lot of over-romanticized crap out there that I think sets some strange standards about dating in impressionable minds. Avoiding romance plots actually encourages kids to get to know themselves, and that's what we really need now---after all, it's what the whole "It Gets Better" campaign is about, so for kids in confusing situations, I think it's less about sexuality and more about individual personality anyway.
  3. TaradosGon Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 5
    I figure they ("they" being kids cartoons) will eventually get to a point where they are more comfortable showing openly gay, unambiguous characters. But I'm not really holding my breathe for Rebels. Romance is such a small part of Star Wars anyway, or at least the OT. Leia and Han were the only characters that seemed to have any kind of romantic feelings for each other, other than Luke thinking Leia's beautiful and brief attempts by Lando to flirt with Leia. Other than that, all the characters may as well be asexual, since the plot is for the most part focused on the danger and the missions, not on any kind of romantic feelings which are secondary. ESB was the only time it was ever really focused on as the centerpiece of some scenes, while the PT romance between Anakin and Padme was painful to watch for all the wrong reasons.

    The only other pairs I can really think of is Owen and Beru, whose relationship consisted of, "this is my girlfriend...," and Cliegg and Shmi, whose relationship was only mentioned, since we never saw them together.

    And so I'm guessing that there will be a romance in Rebels, since there have been romances throughout all Star Wars media, not the least of which is the films, and I'm guessing it will be between Sabine and Ezra (which could go very wrong). Which would leave only Hera, Kanan or Zeb to have any kind of secondary romance (which has pretty much not been done in any of the films). Unless of course they either expand the cast, or if certain members leave/die and are replaced by new characters over time - in which case the initial cast members wouldn't be the only opportunities to explore such things.

    Kanan and Hera strike me as though they will just become close partners with mutual respect for each other, not romantically involved. So we could merely hear a statement from Hera for instance indicating that she had a wife that was killed or enslaved by the Empire. Such a development would give motive for why she hates the Empire; it would establish the character as being homosexual; but it also wouldn't be conveyed in any kind of on screen romance, since her partner/wife would be out of the picture. The only issue with this, is that I would hate to see a character turn into Steve Cortez from Mass Effect 3, who just sat in the hangar crying about his dead husband for too long, at the expense of really giving the character any other personality (IMO)
    Last edited by TaradosGon, Mar 2, 2014
  4. Vthuil Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2013
    star 5
    Hang on a sec - are these characters actually meant to be teens? I had the impression most of them were in their twenties.
  5. anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of CT, SW Saga and Lucasfilm Ltd

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 9
    Ezra is 14 and Sabine is most likely a teenager as well. Kanan and Hera are adults.

    And Chopper is several hundred years old and on the eighth of his nine lives.
  6. Skaddix Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2012
    star 5
    A spinoff thread nice.
    Contessa likes this.
  7. Circular Logic SWTV Interview Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2013
    star 4
    Speaking of Mass Effect 3, I felt the same-sex romances in-game were done very tastefully. Especially in the case of Samantha Traynor, I never really felt their homosexuality defined their character. It was passed off matter-of-factly, and it was evident from conversations that this is perfectly socially acceptable. In fact, if one rolls a male Commander Shepard, it's possible that you would never really know that Traynor was homosexual, as she was simply as much a normal part of the crew as anyone elseunless you tried to flirt with her. I agree that the game did seem to shove the fact that Steve Cortez was gay in your face, but I had no problems whatsoever with it; as you mentioned, the way it's expressed in-game is done rather tastefully, and I guess the only gripe is one I share with you, that it kinda came to define his character because we rarely got to interact with him enough to know him as a person much outside of his occupation as a shuttle pilot.

    As to how this relates to Rebels, I believe that a same-sex romance (rated G of course) or simply an affirmation that a character is gay can certainly be done tastefully and well if they follow ME3's example. I like your idea, Tarados, even if it's unoriginal (basically ripping off Cortez's story in ME3). This can establish a character as gay without focusing on any romantic subplot at all. Plus, as long as all the characters treat it like they would any heterosexual relationship, i.e. as normal and nothing to get worked up about, I can definitely accept it as a good idea. I'd imagine in a galactic civilization that's lasted thousands and thousands of years, this is very much a normal and perfectly acceptable part of galactic culture. It remains to be seen how the general audience at large would accept it, but I think with Greg Weisman on board, a diversity of characters not only based on race and gender, but also on sexuality, can indeed be possible in this show.
  8. Vthuil Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2013
    star 5
    @anakinfansince1983: Thanks.

    I wouldn't even say that the game shoved it in your face, really - having a dead husband was one of his defining traits to a perhaps excessive amount, but really the subplot would have played out the same if it had been a dead wife.

    And I actually think one of the introductory scenes with Traynor (the bit where she apologizes for having gone on about EDI having a "sexy voice") was an excellent example of the sort of "understated" way of establishing a character's sexuality that people are talking about here - albeit not one that would really work in the context of a long-running ensemble series like Rebels is meant to be.
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  9. Circular Logic SWTV Interview Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2013
    star 4
    That's a good point, and perhaps it was a less-than-ideal choice of words on my part, as I really saw nothing problematic about the way his story and the romance was handled. Just that the game was far more overt in telling you that Cortez was homosexual than it was in the case of Traynor. Which leads to:
    Indeed. I definitely think, if Rebels were to include a homosexual character at all, that they could establish said character's sexual orientation discreetly with a line not dissimilar to what Traynor said regarding EDI's voice. It could be done subtly enough to be acceptable for the networks (if it comes to that), and I am sure Weisman could devise a way to express such a character's sexuality without making any fuss about it at all.

    Now, I haven't watched any of Weisman's shows outside of small snippets, but from everything I've heard and read about the man, he appears to be a big proponent of diversity. I'm told that if he could subtly sneak in a reference to a character being gay, he would readily do it. We'll see what this means for Rebels.
    Last edited by Circular Logic, Mar 2, 2014
  10. TaradosGon Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 5
    To clarify about Steve Cortez. My issue was not that he had a dead husband, it was that it completely eclipsed getting to know much about the character outside of that. And to be fair, his romance was rushed since they had one game to do it and he was not a cast member that you really got to take on missions with you or interact with much.

    But he as a romance option just felt unnatural in that he's hung up on his dead husband, you encourage him to get out and help him learn to let go, then all of a sudden he loves you. I thought it was awkward in that he goes from being unable to let go of one relationship, to jumping immediately into another.

    Traynor was different in that she was more playful and flirty.

    And so if any character, heterosexual or homosexual, were ever given that plot point that they had a dead/captured significant other, I wouldn't want that fact to completely define the character as I felt it did for Steve.

    So hypothetically, say Hera is homosexual and has a wife that was taken by the Empire as a slave and Hera has no idea what became of her or even if she's still alive. Let me get to know Hera as a character before you drop that. For instance, it could be something that Hera keeps secret, unwilling to discuss it (because she doesn't want to be emotionally vulnerable and feels pressure to be the solid rock for the group, not because she's hiding her homosexuality). And then over the course of the show as she begins to open up and trust the group more, she eventually reveals to Kanan why she's fighting the Empire and makes mention of her wife and allows herself to become emotionally compromised..

    Something like that .

    With Steve, I felt his relationship was dropped very quickly and pretty much defined him completely, and by the time he learns to accept the past and let go of the pain he clings to, he's falling for Shepard.
    Last edited by TaradosGon, Mar 2, 2014
  11. Narutakikun Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    Well, here's a thread that's sure to end well.

    Have fun.
    thejeditraitor likes this.
  12. Praenomen Cognomen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2013
    star 4
    Haven't seen a single negative/argumentative comment yet.
  13. Narutakikun Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    I think that has more to do with a lot of people really, really wanting to avoid this thread.

    Including me. Ciao, bella.
    thejeditraitor likes this.
  14. Praenomen Cognomen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2013
    star 4
    Should it be any other way? People who care about a thing now have a place to talk about it... Welcome to the interwubz.
  15. Mat Skywalker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2005
    star 4
    Or maybe cause the thread was made the other day
    Last edited by MasterSkywalker86, Mar 2, 2014
  16. Contessa Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2013
    star 3
    It's cool to see the board get its own diversity thread. Let's hope it doesn't get ruined.

    Yeah I think the problem with Cortez was really that everyone has seen this story a thousand times and it's not really *that* great of a story in the first place. It's done so damn much, and it always goes the same way (person loses loved one, person mourns, person meets new person who tries to make them happy, person falls in love with new person) that seeing it *at all* by this point is kind of a turn off. But I don't know, with everything happening with the Reapers, almost every other character you were meeting had some kind of story like this tied to them by that point, so it didn't really feel *that* out of place this time around. Imo, anyway. I also really think that every time you got a chance to get away from that part of his storyline and got to see the rest of who he is, Cortez was cool. It sucks that he didn't really get to do that much with him, he seemed like a pretty chill character.

    I did like Traynor a lot more though, but...biased as hell. lol

    But back to Rebels, I would love to see some non-cishet characters show up. Star Wars needs more canon queer characters. I love who we've got, but more would be better.
  17. JediGirl_Angelina Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2003
    star 3
    I'm all up for LGTB characters to show up in Star Wars - not for any political reason, just because nature's diversity makes it completely OK even on our own little planet among several mammal species. If it can happen on Earth, I'm sure there are places in the GFFA that embarce that by their biology or even culture. We've already seen an example of that with the geonosians: no traditional male-female partnerships, but many males serving one queen for reproduction. I know this comes due to their insect nature, but hope there will similar cultures in future.
  18. credar Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 18, 2011
    star 3
    I just remembered this story from a month ago.

    Disney Channel just included its first gay couple on the channel on a show called "Good Luck Charlie". Disney is suppose to be for kids, so if they are showing a gay couple on Disney, I wouldn't be shocked if an LGTB couple or just a character were to appear on Disney XD, a pre-teen/teen channel, especially because of Weisman. Man loves his diversity and I love it as well. Coming to this discussion as straight white male, I would be so happy to get more diversity on TV and in the Media in general. It really is long overdue for the media (And others) to get their heads out of their 1800s vibe and give us great characters no matter who they are. One of the reasons I'm very excited for Rebels!
    Last edited by credar, Mar 3, 2014
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  19. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 6
    All I see is a red X. What is it?
  20. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 7
    It's a shot of Captain Jack Harkness, waist up, in the buff G!
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  21. themetresgained Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2013
    star 4
  22. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    Diversity amongst the main cast is a great thing–having Ezra, Kanan, and Sabine as human leads but all different races, and none of them white is amazing. As a white male, I have no problem with it–in fact, I'm thrilled. It's great to see something like this. I have never really cared about a person's skin color–a person is a person, and we're all equal–but I too had noticed the predominance of white male protagonists in Star Wars. It didn't bother me, per se, but I was always all for more diversity. Kanan is my favorite of the characters I've seen so far, followed very closely by Zeb and Sabine, and I think it's great that they decided to make him a POC rather than another white guy. (Nothing wrong with white guys, of course. :p) Now, if they introduce another protagonist down the road, him being a white male would totally be acceptable to me, too. As for sexual orientation, the only gays we've had in SW are Goran Beviin/Medrit Vasur and a few NPCs in SWTOR. I wouldn't be surprised to see them in Rebels given Weisman is in charge...we'll see. If there is a gay, I hope (s)he isn't an over-the-top, super-fruity guy, or a hyper-macho beefy girl. Stereotypes are annoying no matter who the subject.
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  23. Master Brynn Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2014
    At first i thought ciao and bella were users.
  24. anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of CT, SW Saga and Lucasfilm Ltd

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 9
  25. TaradosGon Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 5

    I would think that a homosexual character would be easy to do, depending on how they handle it. Implying, without outright saying, is easiest route they could take, and the one I would suspect that we would get - if they have gay characters at all.

    E.G. Think of Luke and Han's conversation in the Millennium Falcon in which Luke asks Han what he thinks of her. Now they could have a similar situation in which the conversation between two male or female characters goes something like this.

    Person A: "So, what do you think of her? She's really something."
    Person B: "Yeah... She's not really my type."
    Person A: "And what type would that be?"
    [Person B stares for a second at Person A without saying anything, after a moment, Person A gets the hint]
    Person A: "Oh. I getcha."

    That's really the kind of under-the-radar kind of implication I could see them going with.

    Or they can have a character that says he/she is gay outright, or have two characters of the same sex kiss. And I think both of those become progressively unlikely. A character saying their gay outright is possible, showing any kind of physical affection (even so much as a G-rated kiss) though, I wouldn't think they would have the balls to do that in a Star Wars cartoon. Though I would be pleasantly surprised, if they did.