By Rae Kruithof
When asked to name LGBTQIA+ representation in Star Wars, you might find yourself wracking your brain to find one. Or maybe you remember that 3 second shot from The Rise of Skywalker of Larma D'Acy kissing her wife Lieutenant Wrobie Tyce in the background. Regardless, it's no secret that one of the biggest franchises in history is woefully lacking in representation across the board. While Star Wars has made great strides in the advancement of storytelling and technology, so many of their stories have focused on straight white men.
While there may not be much representation on the big screen, that doesn't mean there is none to be found. When trying to find the first canonically queer character in the entire Star Wars franchise, there are several different answers that can be found. Some say the first was Jedi Guardian Juhani from the 2002 video game Knights of the Old Republic. Other sources say Moff Sarn Shild from the 1997 Star Wars Legends novel The Hutt Gambit by A. C. Crispin. Then there's also Moff Delian Mors from the 2015 Star Wars Canon novel Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp. But regardless of who came first, several more have followed.
So on this last day of Pride month, let's highlight some canonically queer characters and where you can find them!
Best known for her appearance in The Last Jedi, Amilyn Holdo was made canonically queer in the 2017 novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray. In the novel, Holdo begins to speculate what species Leia might be attracted to. When Leia informs her “it’s just humanoid males for me,” Holdo responds by saying “Really? That feels so limiting.” While it remains to be seen exactly how Holdo identifies, she is clearly attracted to multiple genders and species. It is worth noting that Claudia Gray herself stated that she intentionally portrayed Holdo as queer, but didn't put a label on it, as a galaxy far far away would likely have different ways of identifying.
Merrin, the Nightsister who joins Cal Kestis in the 2019 video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, was revealed to be queer in the game’s 2023 companion novel Jedi: Battle Scars by Sam Maggs. The novel makes reference to Merrin's past relationships and includes a new relationship with a defected Stormtrooper named Fret. In an interview with Popverse, the author of the novel revealed “Merrin was originally envisioned as pansexual by the team at Respawn. So, that was an established thing when I came on to writing this book, something that the Respawn team wanted to explore with this book, and wanted to establish with this book was Merrin’s pansexuality so that it would be clear, canonical, and also is something that the book gives us a unique opportunity to explore.”
Vi Moradi, a Resistance spy, made her first appearance in the 2017 novel Phasma written by Delilah S. Dawson, but is better known for being a character in Galaxy’s Edge. In the Galaxy’s Edge tie-in book Black Spire, also written by Dawson, Vi reflects that she has never cared for anyone in a sexual way. The book’s editor Elizabeth Schaefer revealed on Twitter that Dawson intentionally wrote Vi to be a canonically asexual character.
Sola Naberrie is the sister of Padmé Amidala. While her first appearance in Attack of the Clones was cut, she does make an official appearance in Revenge of the Sith at Padmé’s funeral. The deleted scene introduces Padmé’s family, including Sola and her daughters, Ryoo and Pooja. Sola is single and chose to have her children without a father. In the 2019 novel Queen’s Shadow, Padmé says that “Sola has no interest in a partner.” Author of the Queen's Hands Padmé trilogy, E.K. Johnston confirmed that Sola is both asexual and aromantic.
The story Of MSE-6 and Men, from the 2017 canon novel A Certain Point of View, tells the story of a MSE-6 series repair droid MSE-6-G735Y, also known as “G7”. In the story, an Imperial Officer uses the droid to record and deliver a holomessage to stormtrooper TK-421, with whom the Imperial Officer begins a relationship. Though the Imperial Officer is not named, (the story is from the point of view of the droid), the officer is described as having the highest authority, holding Leia captive, blowing up Alderaan, and perhaps most telling of all, is voiced as Tarkin in the audiobook.
Then there's also this tweet from the author of the story, Glen Weldon, posted the day after the book was released.
Doctor Aphra always finds a spot on every queer Star Wars character listicle, and this one is no different. After first appearing in Marvel Comics’ Star Wars: Darth Vader comic book series, Aphra got a spin-off comic book series of her own entitled Star Wars: Doctor Aphra. Kieron Gillen, creator of Doctor Aphra, stated that Aphra is a lesbian and that he has “never written her with any romantic interest in men."
Lando Calrissian is the kind of Jack Harkness type character that will flirt with anything, sentient or not, and we love him for that. While his first appearance was in The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, it wouldn't be until the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2018 that we would get any confirmation on Lando's sexuality. Solo writer Jonathan Kasdan confirmed Lando is pansexual, stating he “would have loved to have gotten a more explicit LGBT character into this movie.” And Donald Glover later posed the question: “How can you not be pansexual in space?” While none of this is explicitly stated in canon, Star Wars did feature Lando on the Pride cover variation of Star Wars #14 by artist Stephen Byrne.
Created for the 2020 video game Star Wars: Squadrons, this Force-sensitive Mirialan pilot in the New Republic’s Vanguard Squadron is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. Keo was featured at number 5 on Star Wars' 8 Star Wars Characters to Celebrate Pride Month article in 2021. Some have even noticed that Keo’s flight helmet uses the colors of the non-binary flag (yellow, white, purple and black). Electronic Arts (EA) Star Wars community director Jay Ingram stated that the design was a “complete accident” but that “the Force works in mysterious ways.”
If you thought I was ending this listicle without naming Sabé, think again! Born Tsabin, Sabé makes her first appearance in The Phantom Menace as Padmé's decoy, but wouldn't become canonically queer until 2019 in the novel Queen's Shadow. In the novel, Sabé confesses to her partner Tonra that she is in love with Padmé, saying, “as far as I can see, she will always pick Naboo, and I will always pick her.” In Queen’s Peril, Sabé has a brief relationship with an ambassador named Harli Jafan. Writer of the novels E.K. Johnston confirmed that Sabé is pansexual.
Star Wars is made up of a vast galaxy with hundreds of planets, species, races and cultures. Hopefully, the expansion of representation we are slowly beginning to see is just a scratch on the surface. There is so much left to explore. Representation is hope, and Star Wars is for everyone.