The Force is strong with rumors that Laura Dern’s role in the new Star Wars film may be the franchise’s first queer character. The Last Jedi opens on December 15, and if there is anyone in the galaxy fierce enough to burst through the Star Wars queer force field, it’s Dern.
W Magazine laid-out the queer argument, noting that Dern’s character, Vice Admiral Holdo, hints at her sexual preference to none other than Princess Leia herself. In the film’s tie-in novel, Leia: Princess of Alderaan, Leia is a mentor to the younger Holdo, and gives a hetero-normative response when prodded about her sexual interests, “It’s just humanoid males for me.” Holdo’s response, “Really? That feels so limiting,” is where the queer rumor detonated about her sexual fluidity. This along with Dern’s publicity photos as the lavender-haired Holdo is fueling the rumors.
It would also be in line with promises executive producer J.J. Abrams made last year that an LGBTQ character may show up in this trilogy. “When I talk about inclusivity it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course,” he said. It would be foolish to assume that in the entire universe Star Wars is set in, that there wasn’t a queer population.
Dern herself has a long history of tackling risky and memorable roles. In 1997, the actress famously lost work and faced public backlash after playing Ellen DeGeneres’ love interest in the groundbreaking coming out episode for the series Ellen. The two-time Oscar nominee has also mastered the precarious career tightrope between appearing in blockbusters (Jurassic Park, Little Fockers) and edgier films (Blue Velvet, The Master).
Dern reveals to EW that Holdo, “enters the Resistance to shake things up,” adding that the character is complicated and “difficult.” While difficult characters are nothing new for the star, “shaking things up” as the first queer character in the Star Wars canon would be a hyperspace jump for the beloved franchise.