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When Elevation Equals Black Queer Eraser in Star Wars

It is not ok, and Dave Filoni has earned this criticism.

Wait…who is this supposed to be? | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

I have always played favorites with mediums in Star Wars. I prefer animated content over the live-action and have preferred novels over everything. As such, I noticed the canon change in the Tales of the Jedi episode “Resolve,” which shows how Ahsoka connected with Bail Organa to join the Rebellion.

After attending Padme’s funeral, Bail Organa spots the former Jedi and tells her she should not have come. He asks her what she plans on doing and offers her a chance to be a part of something bigger…when she is ready.

That emotional and mental readiness comes after working on a farm on a seemingly remote planet. Ahsoka finds herself in a dangerous situation when she saves a farm worker from being crushed by hay bails. The girl notices and tells Ahsoka that her secret is safe (at which point Ahsoka should have packed up and gotten out of there). But her secret is not safe. The girl’s brother, an Empire fanboy, discovers this and rats her out to the Inquisitorous, who thanks him by burning down the town and almost killing him. Ahsoka arrives and makes quick work of the Inquisitor but realizes that she cannot run from the Empire for the rest of her life; she has to fight back.

This character has all the qualities and a similar situation of Kaeden with one BIG difference | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

This episode has been getting a lot of attention for several reasons. For one, it differs from the novel Ahsoka by EK Johnston, which is the novel equivalent of this journey.

The fact is this: When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, the novels and comics were elevated in fans’ eyes because there was a potential to see their favorite characters and stories show up in film and television. And now, with the existence of streaming services, that is happening more and more. One of the most obscure novel characters that have risen to prominence is Cobb Vanth from The Aftermath Trilogy.

And I want to lean more into the characters versus events because Lucasfilm is already changing events. Caleb Dune, aka Kanan Jarrus surviving Order 66, was changed from comics to The Bad Batch. And they have already changed Ahsoka’s encounter with Maul from the Ahsoka novel.

But Tales of the Jedi episode “Resolve” doesn’t just change the inciting incident that leads Ahsoka into the Rebellion, it erases a character. Kaedan Larte was one of the Queer female characters in Star Wars publishing. She was also black and had a sibling Miara, and both went on to join the Rebellion after being rescued from Raada by Bail Organa. However, while most of that still happens in this short, Ahsoka encounters two white teens. Filoni kept other details from the novel, like Ahsoka’s alias, Ashla.

I do not know what is in Filoni’s head. But I do know this should not be dismissed as unintentional or a simple oversight. Filoni took a lot of similar plot points from the novel Ahsoka concerning the character Kaeden except for her race. Lucasfilm could retroactively confirm that the character is Queer, as Pablo Hidalgo did for two more obscure characters, Ione and Cassilyda, from “Lightsaber Lost” in The Clone Wars. Filoni and Lucasfilm deserve criticism because they have done relatively well (let us not count Holdo from Princess Leia) translating characters from one medium to another.

The brother and sister are rescued by Bail Organa, another similar plot point in Ahsoka | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

The publishing side of Lucasfilm is galaxies ahead of the film and television side regarding diversity in characters and writers; this was evident from the beginning. EK Johnston, the author of Ahsoka, has written many characters of color and orientations in her novels (including a trans character in The Queen Trilogy).

It is one thing to change an event in a canon novel. As frustrating as that might be to canon junkies, it is difficult to tie the hands of creatives in television and film to events written by authors years prior. But it is an entirely different thing to erase a Queer character of color. Yes, Kaeden may still appear in canon in other novels or on television, but her importance in Ahsoka’s life is gone. And Dave Filoni should either acknowledge this or quietly take note of the criticism and avoid this in the future.

And no, it is not the same as changing the ethnicity or orientation of a white superhero or fantasy character. That is a rabbit hole argument as, shockingly, it turns out that original, diverse characters still get attacked by people who think only white people should exist in these spaces.

On a larger scale, Lucasfilm, outside of publishing, has consistently failed at Queer representation. The first significant couple in film and television has been Cinta and Vel in Andor. There is hope for Leslye Hedlund’s upcoming High Republic thriller The Acolyte, but nothing has been confirmed. They are currently sitting on the Queer content goldmine from the comics that is Doctor Aphra (a Queer space archeologist who is Asian), and there has been no announcement of a series or project of the popular comic series, which speaks volumes. So while the erasure is not surprising, it is still disappointing and a reminder that Filoni and Lucasfilm must continue to be challenged on representation.

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