Take one look at the ragtag Rebellion or walk into any cantina and it’s clear the Star Wars galaxy is packed with the full spectrum of many types of life. But historically, it hasn’t been all that diverse when it comes to the human population. With John Boyega’s Finn, Daisy Ridley’s Rey, and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, The Force Awakens will be the first Star Wars movie in which the young leads are not mainly white guys.
In the new novel Star Wars: Aftermath, author Chuck Wendig takes another step forward for diversity, introducing a major gay character to the mix: the Imperial turncoat Sinjir Rath Velus.
He’s not the first gay character to turn up in the new canon. That distinction belongs to last April’s Lords of the Sith novel by Paul S. Kemp, which introduced fans to Moff Delian Mors, a lesbian Imperial officer who feels adrift after her wife is killed in an accident. But Sinjir Rath Velus holds the distinction of being the first major hero in a Star Wars story to come from an LGBT background.