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Diversity in The Last Jedi: A Change We Needed to See

Warning: minor spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a film with many flaws. For those of you who have seen it, you’ll know what some of these flaws are.

However, I can happily say this film also succeeds in doing what almost every previous Star Wars films before it failed to do: represent a variety people from different backgrounds.

When The Force Awakens arrived in cinemas two years ago, the franchise took a significant turn. The original trilogy featured  white men and only one female in major roles.

Whilst Leia remains a role model for many girls across the world today, there was, sadly, little diversity in those original films. The prequel Star Wars films hardly did any better. Despite the 16 year gap between The Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace – very little changed.  The films still featured white men in the major roles. All of this changed drastically in episode VII, The Force Awakens. 

We were introduced the first female Jedi to have a major role in Star Wars. We were also introduced to a diverse cast which included female villain, and a man of colour in the role of a rebel Storm trooper.

Daisy Ridley who plays Rey is the first female Jedi to have a lead role in the Star Wars universe. Source.

None of these roles felt unnatural within the story line of The Force Awakens. In fact, it was sort of to be expected. How could such a large franchise with such a diverse fan base not create diverse characters for viewers to be able to relate to?

In The Last Jedi the producers continue this trend by adding even more diverse characters. It does this by introducing arguably one of the best characters in the entire film, Rose, played by Kelly Marie Tran, an American actress of Vietnamese decent.

Kelly Marie Tran as Rose in The Last Jedi. Source.

Tran’s performance was one of the highlights in the film. Her humour and her bravery make her character immediately one of the most lovable in the film. Her character provides a role model that girls from all different backgrounds can look up to. She’s simply a Star Wars rebel and a kick ass one at that.

Another great addition to The Last Jedi is Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo played by Laura Dern. At first the character seems annoying and pointless. But The Last Jedi is a film of heroes and Holdo quickly becomes one of the most heroic characters in the film.  It was refreshing and exciting to see another woman cast in a leadership role within the Star Wars universe.

Amilyn Holdo. Source.

These additions and more make The Last Jedi the most diverse Star Wars film to date; a change which the series could not have survived without.

It does not however, mean that The Last Jedi represents all minority groups. The franchise is still yet to include characters of different sexual persuasions and different gender identities. Despite this, the diversity shown in The Last Jedi is a significant step in the right direction for Star Wars. It shows potential to change the meaning of the franchise for future generations.

As Kylo Ren says in The Last Jedi, “Let the past die.” And why not? If this is what the future of Star Wars looks like, bring it on.