In a recent article, Vanity Fair praised the television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Orphan Black for their portrayals of female characters while lamenting the lag in movies and videogames. It also lauds The Clone Wars.
What emerges here is that the concept of men not liking strong women (or that the world isn’t ready for gender equality in geek properties) has to be carefully taught; it resonates with adult men in a way it doesn’t with boys. Look no further than the popularity of the animated Star Wars: Clone Wars series, another kids show that featured a strong female lead; if you don’t instruct boys that they don’t want to watch girls in action, they’ll want to watch girls in action.
In anticipation of Star Wars Rebels continuing the success of The Clone Wars with female characters like Ahsoka Tano, Asajj Ventress, and Mother Talzin, I encourage anyone looking for stories in this vein to check out The Legend of Korra, also discussed in the same article. The first three episodes of the new season premiered last week, and the influence of Star Wars on showrunners Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino shines through. They aren’t just retelling the original story in their own fictional setting with superpowered heroes, but projecting beyond the end of the movie saga to explore themes of responsibility and rebuilding that would have affected the Original Trilogy’s heroes. With Korra and Asami, the show challenges existing tropes that plague female characters, which is remarkably refreshing.
The question fans will ask after watching these episodes is: Why aren’t Koneitzko and DiMartino working on Star Wars?
The first two episodes will rerun on Nickelodeon on Friday, July 4th, and new episodes will resume on July 11th at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
- The Legend of Korra Premieres June 27
- Legend of a Strong Female Character: Korra’s Journey
- The Intangibles: A Conversation About What The Clone Wars Brought To 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.