At the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Press Conference, the women of the cast discussed their thoughts on the female characters in the film.
That Hashtag Show got the opportunity to attend the Star Wars: The Last Jedi press conference, where the cast discussed the film and answered press questions pertaining to certain plot points or themes that were present or being suggested at in the marketing. This led to one of my arguably favorite questions being asked at the conference by Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia, Comingsoon.net) :
“There are way more female characters in this movie, certainly more than in the first three movies. That’s going to mean a lot to little girls. I want to know what it means to you guys.”
Daisy Ridley who plays Rey said:
“When I [first] got involved, I knew it was a big deal, but the response was so beyond anything I could have imagined. It was only after that I was like, oh, yeah. It’s not like I ever took it for granted or anything, but it was so monumental, the response and how people felt about it.”
Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose, agreed with Ridley and commented on how the girls in the film kick all the butt. There were no exceptions, according to Tran. Every single female character is amazing and good, which will serve to broaden the female role models for girls everywhere.
One of the arguments I saw pertaining to Rey in Force Awakens was that they made her too masculine and too strong. Basically she appeared to be a female who embodied all stereotypical male characteristics in order to make it seem like a strong female character. She was like one of the boys. It is an assumption to say this, but director Rian Johnson might have thought upon that when focusing on the creation of new female characters in the universe like Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.
When asked the question above, Laura Dern made note of how director Rian Johnson was “one of the most subversive filmmakers” because of how he allowed her to retain the character’s femininity while also allowing her to be strong:
“To see a powerful female character also be feminine is something that moves away from the stereotype [strong women being one of the boys] that sometimes is perceived.”
Gwendoline Christie, who plays Captain Phasma, reflected further on the concept of Star Wars growing diversity while also addressing how the creative team at Lucasfilm was focusing on moving past female characters who act like men and making them more well rounded:
“I was so delighted. I wasn’t yet cast in the first Star Wars film when I heard about casting [referring to Rey]. And I was utterly delighted to see that there was a more representative selection of actors that were gong to be in this incredible Star Wars film. And that has continued. And everything that my amazing colleagues say is absolutely right. You get to see women that are not big and strong, just because they’re acting like men. They’re doing something else and you’re seeing a developed character, or at least a developing character that’s showing some complex character traits. I’m just delighted about that.”
One of the most apparent changes that has been made in recent years within the Star Wars film universe is the growing inclusivity of the cast. This became a subject of much controversy when Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered and has been a much discussed topic with the latest addition to the new trilogy. If the internet is anything to go by, the controversy is looking to continue.
Speaking as a Star Wars fan who was introduced to Padme Amidala before coming across Leia Organa – don’t judge me – I can’t explain enough how elated I am that there will be more characters for little girls to look up to that aren’t being won over on a honeymoon in Naboo. I am sure others may agree to disagree.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now out in theaters.