There’s long been a toxic, racist wing of Star Wars fandom. They came for John Boyega. They came for Kelly Marie Tran. It took until they came for Obi-Wan Kenobi actress Moses Ingram for the franchise’s top dogs to finally stand up and fight back. But something funny happened when Andor introduced one of Star Wars‘ first live-action queer character: Nothing happened — or at least as experienced by the character’s very offline portrayer.
In a new interview with The Independent (in a bit caught by The AV Club), English actress and Game of Thrones vet Faye Marsay discussed playing Vel Sertha, a Rebel Alliance member who’s in a relationship with fellow fighter Cinta Kaz (Varada Sethu). Surely the presence of queer characters in Star Wars — which racist fans seem to not notice is one of the most diverse franchises in history, with an untold number of species hobnobbing together — would result in heaps of online abuse? Right?
“I’ve not had any,” Marsay told The Independent. “Nothing. It’s gorgeous. And reassuring. And the way it should be.”
There is one big caveat here: Marsay is barely on social media. She was mostly driven off because of the “quite intense backlash” she received from Game of Thrones fans, who were none-too-happy that, as The Waif in seasons five and six, she was tormenting Maisie Williams’ Arya Stark, even at one point beating her with a stick.
“I’m just a bit rubbish technology-wise,” she said. “I’m like, the worst millennial on earth. The struggle is real! Like, I can’t really properly put a post up. It takes me a while.”
In other words, Marsay’s not exactly present to witness any potential harassment. Or maybe it never happened because people learned to be cool! But that seems unlikely.
Marsay also talked about playing Star Wars’ first queer live-action character (the video games introduced their first all the way back in 2003).
“While we were filming, I wasn’t thinking too much about it,” she admitted. “But then when you think about what it means to the community, and what it says to the massive bunch of people that need to see themselves mirrored in the shows they watch. The further we got, the more myself and Varada were aware that we were the first openly written queer characters, and how important that was.”