Last night, while getting ready for bed, Brian and I were talking about Star Wars. Big surprise, the conversation centered around the casting announcement. We speculated who the actors were playing, I squeed over Luke Skywalker, we joked about Carrie Fisher mentoring young Daisy Ridley about how Star Wars is about to ruin her life. It was grand.
We also discussed why there are only two females in the (presumably) main cast. We’ve been hearing that there may be a female role that’s yet to be cast, but that remains to be seen. Either way, the representation of women around that table is very poor. And it got me thinking about the women we see in Star Wars. More importantly, about the women we hear in Star Wars.
So I began to list all the women with speaking roles in the live action films, not counting feminine droids. And it was kind of infuriating.
Here’s what I came up with:
A NEW HOPE:
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
- Tonyn Farr (the ion cannon control woman – I had to look up her name, I’m a bad fan)
RETURN OF THE JEDI
- Mon Mothma
- Sy Snootles (she sings, so I guess that counts)
THE PHANTOM MENACE
- Transport captain (I am a bad fan and do not know her name and Google didn’t help)
- Sabe (aka Kiera Knightly)
- Jira (Anakin’s old lady friend)
- Anakin’s two girl friends (I’m a bad fan and do not know their names but one of them is Katie Lucas do I get my fan points back)
- Rabe (the handmaiden who speaks to Anakin on Coruscant)
- Dinee Ellberger (the lady pilot in Bravo Squadron!)
ATTACK OF THE CLONES
- Corde (the handmaiden who dies)
- Dorme (the handmaiden who sees Padme off on Coruscant)
- Jocasta Nu
- Queen Jamillia
- Taun We
- Beru (I guess saying “hello” counts)
REVENGE OF THE SITH
The only woman with a speaking role in Revenge of the Sith is Padme. ONE. ONE WOMAN WITH A SPEAKING ROLE IN A MOVIE THAT’S OVER TWO AND A HALF HOURS LONG. And she dies of a broken heart. (Perhaps the deleted scenes might have helped here? Alas…) How had I never realized this before? Was I that blinded by Padme losing the will to live that I didn’t see that there are NO other women who speak in this movie? It’s absolutely ridiculous. There’s no reason for it. Any random male secondary character could have easily been a female with absolutely no change to the plot.
The other movies don’t do that great when it comes to women, either, with only a handful of of them actually having lines. Things seemed to get better in the first two prequels, but crapped out at the end. While there may be a lot of diversity in the background, there’s no denying women are shockingly absent from the main storyline.
And this is why people get angry. Women are seen in these movies, but not heard. It’s kind of disgusting metaphor that sticks right in the heart.
And it’s important we all acknowledge and think about it.
(Note: If I’ve missed someone, please let me know. I think one of the Neimoidians on the Invisible Hand might have been female, but it’s hard to tell with their bulky robes and goggles. I genuinely racked my brain trying to think of all the random female background characters who might speak. Perhaps that’s the most telling part?)