Let's settle the discussion about the female hero in 'Rogue One' once and for all.

So, um. There's a new "Star Wars" trailer out.

I... wha...


Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Yeah, man.

...

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Right?

Awesome!

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

I know.

But wait, who's that lady?

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

That's Jyn Erso.

Uh, who?

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Jyn Erso. She appears to be the main character in "Rogue One," the new "Star Wars" movie.

Yes, I know that. I'm not an idiot. I mean, like, who is she?

There's not really much info on her yet, but judging by the trailer, she appears to be a renegade from the wrong side of the tracks with nothing left to lose.

Which probably means she's the hero.

Wait, wasn't the hero of the last "Star Wars" movie a woman too?


GIF from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"/Disney.

Yes.

That's kind of weird. Why would they do that?

I mean, why wouldn't they do that?

It's just, I don't know. It seems like ... why do they have to, like ... make a whole thing out of it?


Another woman! There's at least two women in this movie! Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Well, it's not necessarily "a thing." Why can't it just be ... what it is?

Is, like, every "Star Wars" movie going to have a female lead from now on? As, like, some sort of statement?

Probably not. But ... would it be wrong if they did? Putting men at the center of action/adventure movies was pretty much the default since the beginning of movies. But there's no real reason that has to be the case!

Women are perfectly capable of running, jumping, fighting, and blowing things up. When you think about it that way, having a woman lead two movies in a row seems a lot less weird.

Then why does it feel weird to me?

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Look, women are 50% of the population. That being the case, you'd expect to see a roughly equal number of movies starring women and men. But right now, we don't. From 2007 to 2014, only 30% of all speaking roles in the top 700 grossing films went to women. And in 2014, only 21% of the top 100 grossing films featured a female lead, according to a report published by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at USC. That's kind of ridiculous! But it's what we're used to.

Balancing those tables isn't giving female heroes special preeminence. It's correcting a huge imbalance that already exists. It's totally understandable that it feels odd. But what's actually odd is the way things were already. If ... that makes sense.

But what if I want to see a "Star Wars" movie with a male hero?

GIF from "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi"/LucasFilm.

You're in luck! Men still hold the all-time record for Most "Star Wars" Movies Led — at six in a row. You can purchase all of those films on DVD or Blu-ray.

But what if I want to see one on the big screen with Dolby surround sound?

GIF from "Star Wars"/LucasFilm.

More good news! You can do that in just a few years when the Han Solo movie comes out.

Yeah, OK. That makes sense.

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Sure! Look. Change is hard. Men have been starring in big blockbuster movies since basically forever. But just because it's always been that way doesn't mean it has to stay that way.

It's not only fair to mix it up, it's more interesting! Variety is the spice of life! Normal is a setting on a washing machine!

I mean, the last woman-led "Star Wars" was pretty great. And this one looks ... pretty damn good too.

Women have always been more than capable of heading a "Star Wars" movie. And now that they're actually getting chances, they're killing it. Batting 1.000, actually (on an admittedly small sample size). I'll sign up for that any day.

Cool. Want to preorder tickets?

Nah. In the spirit of the film, I'm sneaking in.

GIF from Star Wars/YouTube.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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