When it was announced that the Star Wars series was going to be revitalized with another trilogy, I must admit, I had mixed feelings. How could the Star Wars classic be replicated? But, if we are forced to contend with a new version of Star Wars then we hope this new trilogy will incorporate things the previous six movies didn't. Especially now that important issues are gaining more traction in society, it would be a glaring mistake to not see the following:
Diverse representation does not necessarily mean more kinds of alien races, but mainly in regards to gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and age. For the major films, notable female characters are usually few. In some cases, it seems like characters are meant to fill token roles: the love interest, the person of color, etc. Some minorities are represented, but it seems to be limited representation. There is also the matter of how hetero-normative all the characters are. Luckily, it's already quite known that there is a range of characters for the upcoming movie, from Captain Phasma (a mysterious female soldier) to Finn (the black man in the storm trooper outfit and wields a lightsaber in the trailer), so there seems to be diversity, but it won't matter enough unless the next point is also upheld.
Agency And Depth For Certain Characters
In many instances, we saw how Leia was an objectified woman on screen, even though she was the commander of the Rebel forces. We saw Samuel L. Jackson play Mace Windu, a powerful and skilled Jedi that remained incredibly silent and one dimensional. Padme was initially quite the capable queen, but as time passed, she seemed to lack agency or "lack the will." We want the characters who are not young straight, white men to be capable of the same kind of power, enlightenment, and vulnerability and be seen as main characters, not supporting ones. What also needs to be revealed is how older female characters will be depicted in the movie, aka Leia played by Carrie Fisher. It is a common trend in media to view older women as irrelevant and typecast them into particular roles because they are simply not as youthful or "pretty" to look at. Hopefully, The Force Awakens will do Leia and Fisher justice, but it remains to be seen.
Understanding The Jedi
The lore and depiction of the Jedi Order has not been fully explored in the movies as it has been in comic books, television shows, video games, and novels. But, especially in the prequels, the Jedi Order and its Knights are perhaps more ambiguous than jedis of the Dark Side. The Order serves as a military force for the Senate (a group of politically powerful and well-off beings), but with the spiritual, humble, and peaceful principles the Order maintains, there seems to be a contradiction. What's being suggested here is that for the purpose and use of the Jedi Order: 1) there must be a level of privilege and 2) Jedis are simply meant for warfare. Jedis do not seem to exist or function in the most rural parts of the Star Wars universe and are reserved for leading troops and carrying out deadly missions. For the new Star Wars movie, what needs to be explored if the jedis can be helpful and purposeful to all classes and if jedis can truly become the pacifist group they are supposed to be.