Meet Daisy Ridley, who is the sole woman announced among the newcomers in the Episode VII cast reveal yesterday. If you plucked Jaina Solo from my imagination, she would look like Daisy Ridley. Don’t worry, I have no illusions about Ridley actually being named that in Episode VII. If you really need to know more about her, there isn’t a lot, but I’ll suggest the L.A. Times piece. I have images at my Facebook page FANgirl Zone and Tumblr.
Honestly, I had no idea my Potential Energy of Major Star Wars Events post would be spot on for what would happen in the wake of the casting news.
I am elated about Daisy Ridley, and extremely disappointed in the male pallette that rounds out the new cast. I am proud of the responses to the gender imbalance from women and many men, and disgusted how some men are so troubled that fangirls express emotion that they need to placate or lecture in an attempt to minimize the emotion. The effect is undoubtedly the opposite; last night it made us angrier. If you were a male fan who felt uncomfortable with the vibe during the post-announcement fallout, welcome to how it has felt to be a female fan of Star Wars for the past thirty years. Between the franchise and the fandom, female fans experience a never-ending cycle of awkwardness from something we want so badly to embrace yet it keeps holding us at arm’s length.
Over the years, I’ve learned to not write reaction posts from a place of emotion. So until that time I can pull my thoughts together, enjoy Daisy and all the news to come. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter there is another female role to fill, which doesn’t really make the gender ratio all that better, but at least it’s something, and if this mystery woman had been in The Cast Announcement the reception might have played out differently.
As I’ve noted in several pieces, fangirls rarely get up in arms just about our own personal wants for Star Wars. The two best examples of that from yesterday are Dunc’s piece at Club Jade, in which she speaks for the female members of fandom, and Annalee Newitz’s piece at io9, in which she worries about what is in store for her niece in the future of Star Wars.
Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.