Star Wars: Director J.J. Abrams Explains Decision Behind Same-Sex Kiss in The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker writer-director J.J. Abrams says the same-sex kiss depicted in the film’s celebratory ending was an explicit way of expressing a message that “Star Wars is for all of us.” In The Rise of Skywalker, after Rey (Daisy Ridley) defeats the returned Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) and the Resistance forces topple his Sith fleet dubbed the Final Order, a return to the Resistance base on Ajan Kloss shows commander Larma D'Acy (Amanda Lawrence) embrace a female pilot in a kiss. While D'Acy is not the first lesbian character in Star Wars or the first character shown to be part of a gay relationship, the scene did mark the first same-sex kiss in the theatrical live-action franchise.

“It just felt like in this one scene of celebration, it felt like an opportunity to show [a same-sex kiss] without it being heavy-handed or making too loud of a deal,” Abrams Sweden’s MovieZine. “Sort of part of the whole experience was to see a same-sex couple have a moment together that was explicitly saying in this galaxy, everyone is there and is welcome. It doesn’t matter your sexual preference, your race, your species, whether you’re organic, whether you’re synthetic — Star Wars is for everyone.”

Abrams continued, “And knowing that there hadn’t been a representation like that, it doesn’t take away from anyone. It just shows that Star Wars is for all of us.”

Asked about his responsibility to support diversity as a filmmaker, Abrams express his belief “it should be every filmmaker’s responsibility to not just represent the world as it exists as much as possible onscreen, wherever possible, but also behind the camera.”

“We had an extraordinary second unit director who’s an African American woman, that was the first time there had been a Black woman doing that job. And that was as important to me as having a cast that looked more like the world than not,” Abrams said. “And I’m really proud of not just on-camera, but also behind the camera, wherever we can bring people in who are not just the usual suspects. Again, it’s not about taking away from anyone else, it’s about giving opportunities to people who might not have had that chance before.”

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“So whether it’s a woman in a role that you might not normally see a woman, whether it’s someone of color in a role — it’s becoming more normalized, but I think it’s only good for storytelling, diversity,” he continued. “It’s good for business, too, because I think people are hungry to see things that don’t feel like the exact same thing you’ve seen forever.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters.

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