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Lit Diversity in SW Lit - Coop's Temporary Whining Thread

Discussion in 'Expanded Universe' started by CooperTFN, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. ESg Jedi Grand Master

    It seemed rather varied. Not to mention Lux is Onderonin among others
  2. CooperTFN Jedi Grand Master

    It's hard to be sure, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
  3. Mia Mesharad Jedi Grand Master

    Well, Mandalore was suddenly made the white planet, so maybe they thought they'd make Onderon the black planet for some sort of balance...
  4. MercenaryAce Jedi Master

    Hmmmm.....considering Onderon's climate and long history, a majority dark skin population make sense to me.
  5. ceiranharmony Jedi Master

    wait for the Epicanthix planet :p lets hope not.. but wait!
  6. AdmiralNick22 Jedi Grand Master

    RE: Onderon, the people of the planet appear to be diverse. The ruling family is darker skinned, but some of the Onderon troopers were white and other shades, from what I saw in the trailer. That particular arc does look rather promising.

    --Adm. Nick
  7. MercenaryAce Jedi Master

    What about that village of small Asian people that Death Watch burned down?
  8. ceiranharmony Jedi Master

    :rolleyes: nothing to add there
  9. MercenaryAce Jedi Master

    Oh, and the ninja people from the bounty hunter episode. I think they count too.

    And come to think of it, everyone from Seccerro in KOTOR was Asian.....matter of fact, I think they all used the same face.....
  10. CooperTFN Jedi Grand Master

    From Jennifer Heddle's DR panel recap, in the Q&A portion:

    Freac, is that your handiwork?
  11. The Loyal Imperial Census & Games General Manager

    Promising is one thing.

    Actually putting it into practice is another entirely.
  12. Rilwen_Shadowflame Jedi Master

    Who knows, though; maybe if we had more characters that ping on the sexuality score as well, the owners of the JC would have to bow to the obvious and let people on here write about them and suchlike.

    And maybe water will rain upwards too, I guess.
  13. jedifreac Jedi Master

    Ha, no. CVI was definitely out of my budget this year and any year it isn't in Los Angeles. But that's a good thing, because DelRey needs to see that several different people care about diversity in Star Wars. I hope this question gets asked at every single convention until they start recognizing it as a problem.

    I think a lot of people who would ask this type of answer no longer care enough to bother. Most of my friends have already kind of gotten sick of Star Wars because of how stagnant and cluelessly non-diverse it is that they have stopped reading and would not go to a panel to ask a question like this. (A lot of people stopped reading after the way Tahiri was handled in LOTF and the whole Ben-slapping-Vestara thing.)

    [So perhaps for DelRey it's a question of continuing to write towards it's shrinking but solid base of consumers who don't care about the fact that they are not diverse, or trying something new to lure back readers who want diversity and for the purpose of attracting new readers. You see the same problem with diversity in Hollywood. People of color and women (including people of color who are women) go to movies starring white people, so there is no incentive to put people of color/women/women of color in lead roles because they are already going to the movies anyway. When these groups pull back and stop going to movies, then the studios just argue that the audience isn't there.]

    Amen. I was reading this blog entry aloud to my partner (white dude) who is only a casual Star Wars fan and reader. ("Casual" as in he will only pick something up if it seems really interesting and is well written. So for example, he liked Wraith Squadron, Shadows of the Empire, the KOTOR comics, andNJO: Edge of Victory; but did not like Rogue Squadron, Star by Star, Dark Nest or the Revenge of the Sith novelization etc.)

    His reactions were pretty funny. ("Why would they preemptively tell fans that Han and Leia and Luke are not going to die in Crucible? Doesn't that destroy any of the heightened stakes for that book?") His reaction to Heddle's comments on diversity was even better: "Wanting diversity to happen 'organically.' Doesn't that basically mean 'We want diversity to happen naturally, even though it isn't happening naturally. We want diversity to happen having to make any changes like hiring more diverse authors, authors who are good at writing a wide range of characters, or emphasizing to existing authors that diversity is important to us.'"

    I have to admit that my initial reaction was kind of the same thing. Diversity doesn't just spontaneously happen naturally. You actually have to try at it. That doesn't mean shoehorning it in, and maybe that is what they meant by doing it organically but she doesn't actually say what steps they will be taking to be mindful.

    I think it makes sense that an author might not consider a character's sexuality until it comes up, but prior to it coming up I would hope the writers could also acknowledge that not everyone is straight. That isn't shoehorning it in, even deliberately setting out to write a gay character isn't shoehorning it in (Authors deliberately set out to write straight characters all the time, Vestara is an example of a straight character put in to be a love interest.) There is nothing more shoehorned or un-organic than writing books about the same classic characters and publishing books about straight white dudes in Star Wars.

  14. The Loyal Imperial Census & Games General Manager

    I miss HNN. If we still had it, it'd be a prime platform for filling in the background with more diverse characters.
    RC-1991 likes this.
  15. CooperTFN Jedi Grand Master

    I hope your response was "not even a little".
  16. jedifreac Jedi Master

    Yeah, those three are pretty unhealthily emeshed with one another, always doing things together, never really interacting with other people except for work purposes, not really hanging out with friends. I mean yeah they're friends with Lando (except he's off actually like living an independent life and running a company and raising his kid and stuff) and Leia's friends with Winter (when was the last time they hung out) but they're like...doing stuff, together. Actually pretty isolated for senior citizens.
  17. CooperTFN Jedi Grand Master

    Full title: Crucible - How The Big Three Got Their Groove Back.

    CHTBTGTGB, for short.
  18. Mechalich Jedi Master

    Not everyone is straight, certainly, but, depending on which numbers you chose to believe, something between 94-98% of the population of humans is. That's obviously not zero left over, it's about even with the Asian-American contingent of the US, and certainly greater than say Native American or Arab-American categories, but it's not a very big number. The overwhelming majority of EU characters are not sufficiently detailed that their sexuality matters one iota, ie. they could be retroactively declared homosexual or bisexual and zero story material would require re-interpretation. Ultimately a single prominent gay or lesbian character per era would probably cover the demographic.

    I suspect the point about shoehorning is much more that Del Rey feels they don't want to demand of their authors along the lines of 'your next major character will be black/gay/asian/disabled/etc.'or make jarring retroactive changes during the editing process (and, as I mentioned in a previous post, if you're not inclined to try and program each piece 'race' simply doesn't attach to a great many novel characters in a way not true of comics or video games). Yes the continuation of stories based on a group that suffers from a demographic deficit inflicted by a combination of the passage of time and protagonist conglomeration in addition to any inherent flaws it may well have is problematic, but for better or worse it seems to be what people want to buy. Luke, Han, Leia, and co. have this huge inherent in-built marketing advantage and a following of hard-core fanboys/fangirls that secure them a certain level of guaranteed profits. To introduce completely new stuff requires a lot of establishment work, which all costs money and cuts into the already thin profits of a print publishing industry on the downslide.

    Just as an example, the best recent chance to establish a new, diverse, group of Star Wars novel characters was in the TOR tie-in novels, as TOR is both a heavily marketed property and a very diverse one. Yet those novels are not well reviewed and don't appear to be popular at all, even among the posters here, the hardcore base. FotJ, as poor as the reception was here, got read. There's a big chicken-and-egg problem here.
  19. jedifreac Jedi Master

    I know that Disney does something sort of like that, which doesn't come off as shoehorning and has seemed to yield positive results. One example is the television series "The Middleman" on ABC Family, where show runner Javier Grillo-Marxuach was asked if he could cast his female lead with a Latina actress. Another example, which as been wildly successful, is the character of Doc McStuffins on the Disney kids channel. It is the most popular show on the channel. The show runner initially pitched the concept thinking the lead character would be a little white girl but Disney told her, "we love this concept, but can you make her a person of color." The show is wildly popular and it doesn't feel forced that the character is a little girl who happens to be brown.

    I think DelRey can potentially do the same thing. "I like this new Imperial Knight character that you have introduced for the Sword of the Jedi trilogy, but I was wondering if you could make this character a woman because every other character in this book besides Jaina is a man." "I really enjoyed the new characters you introduced in this outline, but since they are all human I was wondering if you could make some of them aliens." "I noticed that the new Jedi character in your book proposal is a white man but since this book doesn't have any characters of color would you be willing to make him a person of color instead?" If race isn't a "big deal" within the Star Wars verse then tweaking character descriptions shouldn't be a problem.

    Diversity has to start somewhere--there has to be initiative. Allston made the decision to make Voort the main character in Mercy Kill, and it looks like he was supported in that decision. But the author and DelRey had to WANT to make this happen for it to happen.
  20. Gorefiend Jedi Grand Master

    For me it’s more that I can’t be gotten care about novels set in that era any more, them being pretty badly written doesn’t really help.

    As jedifreac pointed out just make side characters more diverse in that regard, it would already solve the problem. The Legacy comics where great in this regard.

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