Star Wars has made a bold shift away from the cliched guy heavy ethos of action movies.
Forget the battle of the sexes; women have won the Star Wars. The incredible new trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, features its star Felicity Jones and her Jyn Erso character front and center. And when we’re introduced to her character, it’s with a litany of all of the badass things she has already done – not with a dramatic sigh as she waits for a reluctant bro hero to save her. The millions of fans who have already watched the video since it premiered Thursday morning are probably more focused on the mysterious prequel’s plot, which focuses on a group of rebels who plot to steal the plans to the Death Star from the Galactic Empire, setting the stage for Luke Skywalker’s journey in the original film.
For decades, women have largely been relegated to getting their voices out via fan fiction. But in recent years, Star Wars has made a bold shift away from the cliched, guy-heavy ethos of action movies. Starting with last year’s The Force Awakens, the series aligned itself not just with fan boys but also the millions of underappreciated fan girls around the globe. And the results have been clear: Episode VII is the top-earning film in U.S. history and it nearly cracked the Top 10 when adjusted for inflation. Despite a wave of nostalgia for old school heroes like Han Solo, the bulk of attention and praise for that movie has been for breakout star Daisy Ridley and her character Rey.
The move to a more inclusive action world is only picking up steam. On the same day the Rogue One trailer dropped, it was announced that Charlize Theron is joining the cast of the next Fast and Furious movie. Theron is a certified action hero after winning near universal praise from critics and fans alike in last year’s Mad Max: Fury Road – a film specifically written and designed to emphasize feminist ideas and characters.
There was even a bright spot for female heroes in the otherwise hugely disappointing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice film. Sure, the latest iteration of Supes is a mopey dud but just about everyone loved the new on-screen version of Wonder Woman, who is getting her own film next year.
And with the Hunger Games series recently having wrapped up and Game of Thrones coming back to HBO this month, there is suddenly no shortage of powerful action roles for women across the media. Science fiction, fantasy and action films will always be a nice slice of comfort food for boys young and old but there’s plenty of room at the table for everyone. Especially someone that knows their way around a blaster.