And we have Star Wars and the Carmilla Movie to thank for it.
If you heard millions of voices cry out in sheer joy over the weekend, it was because the Carmilla Movie trailer dropped at Toronto’s FanExpo. The agony and ecstasy it evoked in it’s audience cannot be underestimated, and I’m pretty sure at least several hundred ovaries exploded by the sheer queerness of it all.
Take a look for yourself if you don’t believe me.
What strikes me most—aside from the strange experience of seeing a moving camera instead of a webcam—is just how delightful and professional everything looks. Yet, at the same time, there’s a definitive undertone of the quirky and weird that we’ve come to expect from the webseries about sapphic vampires and the nerdy girls who love them. Laura (Elise Bauman), Carmilla (Natasha Negovanlis), LaFontaine (Kaitlyn Alexander), and Lola (Annie Briggs) seem up to their usual supernatural shenanigans. It’s a delight to see Kirsh (Matt O’Connor) and Melanippe (Nicole Stamp) joining them as well, as they were two of my favorite secondary characters on the webseries.
And when I say shenanigans, I mean time-travel, vampire laden, fancy-dress wearing, totally and unabashedly queer shenanigans. It’s all kinds of sexy, all kinds of weird, all kinds of absurd, and did I mention all kinds of sexy? There’s so much woman loving woman (wlw) energy on that screen it’s a wonder it doesn’t blow up!
Oh, and the time travel? We’re getting Emily and Charlotte Bronte, played by Cara Gee and Grace Lynn Kung respectively. Didn’t know you needed Asian Bronte sisters in your life? I didn’t either, but boy am I hyped as fuck for it. Especially with hints that Charlotte might be depicted as queer on screen…god, I’m so ready for this.
To make matters more deliciously sexy and complicated, Dominique Provost Chalkley, of Wynonna Earp acclaim, will be playing the mysterious “Woman in Black,” a character who may be Mircalla’s (Carmilla’s former name) first love. Boy oh boy am I ready for this.
Not to be outdone, the most recent novel in the Star Wars franchise, Leia: Princess of Alderaan hit shelves this past weekend (September 1st) and dropped pretty big hints that one of the characters to be joining the film franchise later this year is queer. Namely, the character of Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.
If you haven’t seen the promotional shots for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, take a break and look at them, they’re breathtaking. Among them are photos of Leia, Holdo, and Phasma, which are the kinds of glamor shots typically given to young, conventionally attractive models, not middle aged senators, military leaders, and stormtroopers.
Back to the novel. Claudia Gray’s most recent Star Wars novel is a YA focused on Leia’s transition from royal daughter of one of the Elder Houses to official heir to the Alderanaan throne and proto-rebel leader. Yes, that Claudia Gray. The one who wrote my favorite Leia novel about middle-aged Leia balancing the personal and political as she attempts to navigate her way around the New Republic and resist the First Order’s rise. Claudia Gray who seems to instinctively get Dutiful Princess Leia Organa and confirms all of the best headcanons about my favorite Star Wars character.
But enough gushing about the book. I’ll be doing plenty of that later this week when I post my review. (GET HYPE. THE BOOK IS SO GOOD.)
More importantly for queer fangirls everywhere, Gray introduces us to one of Leia’s childhood friends: Amilyn Holdo. She’s airy, bright, and serene, with a tendency to speak in obtuse metaphors, wear garish clothes, dye her hair bright colors, and take great delight in staring down the immanency of death. If you’re picturing a space version of Luna Lovegood…you’re basically right. I love Amilyn. She’s quirky and fun and pretty clearly not straight.
Just over halfway through the novel (page 246), this exchange occurs between her and Leia:
“Beware words like ‘only,’” Amilyn said, wagging one long finger, but she was smiling. “Don’t let your head be turned by the most dangerous substance known to exist.”
“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.”
And she’d already found someone extraordinary in it.
It’s subtle, but not very. Amilyn’s remark is the kind of comment that would sound strange from the mouth of someone who wasn’t bi/pan, so to read it any other way feels, in Amilyn’s own words, ‘limiting’. It’s just not something anyone but a queer character would say, so claiming her for LGBT+ representation feels right.
As of right now, there’s no indication as to whether or how far this will be explored in the upcoming Episode VIII. But we don’t really know how significant Amilyn’s (played by Laura Dern) involvement is in the film yet, so that’s not all that surprising. She’s clearly not a minor character since she received her own promo shot in the above linked series, but still. Her sexuality may or may not fit organically into the plot of the film, though I hope it does.
However, given how tight a grip the Lucasfilm story group has on the New Canon Star Wars universe, the fact that Gray was able to include this tidbit gives me hope. Previous comments from actors and directors involved in the franchise have pointed to a desire to make the Star Wars universe more diverse. The directions explored in the comics and other novels back that up. But as of yet, we haven’t seen a canonically queer character in the films.
Amilyn Holdo could change all that.
Now, I for one hope this doesn’t have to take place at the expense of a potential relationship between Poe and Finn (though I don’t really have high hopes for that in canon anyway, but fingers crossed!). There’s room for all kinds of diversity in Star Wars protagonists, and my hope is that Amilyn Holdo is just the beginning of seeing more queer protagonists in this universe. Because there’s very little I love more than space girlfriends and space boyfriends being queer in space. Besides a former vampire and her girlfriend of course. Hey, bringing it all back around.
All that to say, the galaxy just got a heck of a lot more queer in the past few days. This week, and the month of September, look to be off to a good start!
What do you think? Are you as excited for the Carmilla Movie and Amilyn Holdo as I am? Take it to the comments to let me know what you think!
Special Update: Billie Piper, the actress who played beloved companion Rose Tyler in the first, second, and fourth series of the new Doctor Who has said on Twitter that her character, Rose, would still be in love with the Thirteenth Doctor, who will be played by Jodie Whittaker. That’s right, Rose Tyler is bi! Space and time just got even more queer!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is set to premiere December 15, 2017, and the Carmilla Movie drops October 26, 2017; I know what I’m doing for Christmas and Halloween!