One of my favorite parts of Disney’s takeover of Lucasfilm is how the House of Mouse gave a galaxy far, far away some badly needed structure. In the decades before Disney, Star Wars was a loose compilation of stories. Just about everyone is familiar with the original trilogy — A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi — but thousands of pages of Expanded Universe lore existed side-by-side with the films. From novels to comic books, the history of the Skywalker family and beyond was rich, dense, and contradictory. For example, Chewbacca has a disparate history due to the number of writers who utilized his character over the years.
With the new canon created by Disney, every thread of the Star Wars universe is woven together by the Lucasfilm Story Group. It’s completely possible to enjoy the new films as pieces of standalone storytelling, but diving into the various animated fare, comic books, and novels complement the source material can make the experience deeper. The latest example of that is the YA novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray. The book takes place prior to the events of A New Hope and is the first introduction of Laura Dern’s character from the upcoming film The Last Jedi. Named Amilyn Holdo, Dern’s character apparently has a long history with General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), stretching back to their teenage years. A section of the novel is now drawing attention, as it indicates Vice Admiral Holdo is bisexual. First pointed out by ScreenRant, the dialogue exchange has Amilyn and Leia discussing what gets them hot and bothered.
“A pair of pretty dark eyes.” Then Amilyn thought about that for a moment. “Or more than a pair, if you’re into Grans. Or Aqualish, or Talz. Or even – ”
“That’s all right! Leia said through laughter. “It’s just humanoid males for me.”
“Really? That feels so limiting.”
“Thank goodness it’s a big galaxy.”
The dialogue never has Amilyn come right out and say “I am bisexual” but it’s easy enough to infer the message behind her words. As a bisexual woman myself, I’ve been years reading between the lines to find representation (and occasionally hitting pay dirt when characters become canonically queer). However, based on Amilyn’s preference not only for humanoids but interspecies relations, it’d be more accurate to say Amilyn Holdo is pansexual. For those unfamiliar with the term, Merriam-Webster defines pansexuality as “of, relating to, or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation.” Wanting to bang alien abominable snow people definitely qualifies one as pansexual.
Why is this important? Because Star Wars has been dragging their feet on LGBTQA+ representation on film. Several LGBTQA+ characters exist in the new Expanded Universe, including Imperial Moff Delian Mors, Sinjir Rath Velus, and Rae Sloane. But all of these characters are on the periphery, existing in the novels. Despite director J.J. Abrams’ assurances that an openly LGBTQA+ character would be in the new film trilogy, so far it’s been no dice. However, if Amilyn is openly queer in The Last Jedi, it will be an important step forward for representation. Not “Confirmation that Poe and Finn are banging” good, but a start.