One of my fellow GeekyLeaks mods, Jessica Fishell, shared that ASU is hosting a free-to-the-public panel on race and gender studies in Star Wars. The event is this Friday. Check it out!

Update: A panelist confirms that they will cover the first six films, though it may touch on TFA and Rogue One.

 Star Wars Films & Discussion 
Free Event

Agribusiness Center, Room 134 | Arizona State University Polytechnic campus

The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy (CSRD) and The Philosophy and Film Series at ASU present the “Star Wars” films and discussion.

In the last 14 months two new Star Wars films, Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Rogue One, released to widespread critical and popular acclaim; however, while largely celebrated, both films have drawn the ire of those unhappy that these films feature women and people of color as principal leads.

Join us for a discussion that will use this controversy as a catalyst to examine the role race plays in the Star Wars film series and how Star Wars asks viewers to rethink their own prejudices at the same time as it encodes markers of systemic racism in American culture.

Note: *The “Star Wars” films will not be screened in their entirety, rather a “supercut” of relevant film clips will be shown.

Star Wars has definitely made some improvements in representation. I mean, SW: TFA’s “holy trinity” marketed good guy characters are a woman (Rey), a black dude (Finn), a Latino dude (Poe)! But, other female characters and POC do still feel fairly under-utilized and under-represented. (I’m looking at you, Phasma, who had a bajillion freakin’ awesome toys and figures and had a teeny tiny movie presence).

But, for a major franchise, it was still a very important step.

Rogue One, I actually do have a few more qualms with. They took some major strides with POC but it was kind of a bummer to see Jyn do her final suicide run with… a billion dudes. And of the rebel pilots, I just saw one lady pilot. (Still more lady pilots than the OT, so small victories. Also, TFA had a ton of lady pilots, and Poe Dameron’s mom Shara Bey was a famous pilot.)

Either way, I am super interested to check this out. I may have to rearrange my schedule!