Maybe Star Wars Should Go Easy on the British Brunettes

Daisy Ridley, Emilia Clarke, Felicity Jones. Photo: Lucasfilm

That new Solo trailer offers a whole lot to take in, from Donald Glover’s fur-clad Lando Calrissian to Alden Ehrenreich’s attempt to capture Harrison Ford’s cocksure swagger. As far as Star Wars films go, this may be the most double-underlined attempt thus far to make everything old feel new again — peep those clean-as-a-whistle interiors in the Millennium Falcon! Still, there’s one current habit the franchise can’t seem to shake.

Namely, enough with the British brunettes.

Look, I’m as excited as anyone to see Emilia Clarke shake off the stone-faced hauteur and platinum lace-front she’s shackled to on Game of Thrones, but when she popped up in that Solo trailer with her brown hair tied back in a ponytail and her plummy British accent set free, I couldn’t help but say, “Again?” Solo will be the fourth new Star Wars film since Lucasfilm changed hands and we finally put the prequel era behind us, but each one of those new movies has had a British brunette as its female lead, from Daisy Ridley in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi to Felicity Jones in Rogue One. Is this the distaff version of Dunkirk? Your grandma can’t be expected to keep all these similar-looking lasses straight!

It’s a good thing that after decades of Star Wars films that could only offer Leia and Padme as representatives of the female gender, the new installments have much better representation of half our population, even filling out their casts with offbeat female characters like Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata and Space Dern. So why are the female leads consistently taken from such a shallow pool of British women? They each have brown hair and a smooth face, they each have a rebellious streak that belies their by-the-book accents, and they each look like they should be wearing a gingham cardigan while pushing Tom Hiddleston’s wheelchair in an inspirational biopic. Enough! I’m not going to knock Lucasfilm for submitting to an Anglophile crush now and then, but they’re starting to return to this British thing more times than Taylor Swift browsing OK Cupid.

I was heartened to see Thandie Newton pop up briefly in that Solo trailer — she may be British, but at least no one would mistake her for Felicity Jones — and I think the outpouring of affection for Kelly Marie Tran in The Last Jedi has a lot to do with who we’re not used to seeing in these big space-battle movies. So give us more of that, Lucasfilm! I don’t mean to deprive Claire Foy, Keira Knightley, Hayley Atwell, and Emily Blunt of the chance to wield a lightsaber, but hey, at least it will help us tell their action figures apart.

Maybe Star Wars Should Go Easy on the British Brunettes