Star Wars star Mark Hamill says his iconic character Luke Skywalker could be gay — if you want him to be.
In an interview with the Sun, the 64-year-old veteran actor said he believes that Skywalker’s sexuality “is meant to be interpreted by the viewer.”
Last month, Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams said it was only a matter of time before the Star Wars universe incorporated a gay character.
“I just read online that J.J. is very much open to that,” Hamill told the Sun. “In the old days, you would get fan mail, but now fans are writing and asking all these questions: ‘I’m bullied in school… I’m afraid to come out.’ They say to me: ‘Could Luke be gay?'”
“I’d say it is meant to be interpreted by the viewer,” the actor continued. “If you think Luke is gay, of course he is. You should not be ashamed of it. Judge Luke by his character, not by who he loves.”
At the U.S.-Ireland Alliance Oscar Wilde Awards last month, Abrams said it was inevitable that a gay character would appear in the Star Wars universe. The next installment in the long-running and massively successful film franchise is due to arrive in theaters in December 2017, with Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper) taking over directorial duties from Abrams.
“When I talk about inclusivity, it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course,” Abrams said of whether or not there would be gay characters in the franchise. “To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.”
Abrams has been outspoken about the need for Hollywood to increase the diversity of its talent in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter earlier this month, Abrams said his production company Bad Robot would team with its agency and studio partners to ensure that women and minority talent are submitted for job opportunities based on their proportionality to the U.S. population.
“The Oscars controversy was a wake-up call to examine our role in expanding opportunities internally at Bad Robot and externally with our content and partners,” Abrams told the outlet. “It’s good for audiences, and it’s good for the bottom line.”
Hamill will reprise his role as Luke Skywalker in the currently untitled Star Wars: Episode VII.