Andor: We Need Better Than Schrodinger’s Lesbians

Andor - Vel Lesbian

The latest episode of Andor (episode 5 ‘The Axe Forgets’) may or may not have had the first significant on-screen queer content in Star Wars. But at this point, it’s deniable enough that it hardly counts.

So far I’ve been enjoying the hell out of Andor. It expands the universe in the exact way I was hoping for. We’re stepping away from focusing on the Skywalkers and showing what life is like for other people in the universe. The timeliness of a story about an Empire pushing people out of their lands is also significant. Overall, props to the showrunners for such an amazing installment of the franchise. The queer representation in episode 5, however, left a lot to be desired and we need to talk about it.

There were two major clues in this episode that hinted toward Cinta and Vel being a couple. First, Cassian is told that Cinta already ‘shares her blanket’ with someone. Then it cuts suspiciously to Vel. Later, when it’s revealed that Vel has been keeping a secret from the team, Cinta immediately denies that she was told about it. This implies that the two of them are closer than the others. When added to the earlier ‘sharing her blanket’ comment, it seems clear that these two are implied to be a couple.

The fact that it’s still deniable, though, is the problem. We aren’t told who Cinta shares her blanket with, nor is their supposedly closer relationship elaborated on. At this point, they are Schrodinger’s Lesbians and that’s simply not good enough. If people can still Sappho and Her Friend these characters, the representation is not strong enough to count.

We are only halfway through the season, so if they do end up elaborating on this, I will greatly applaud them for it. 

I hope I’ll have to eat my words later. But I also know that sometimes heterosexual content creators think that a subtle implication is enough to satisfy the representation requirement, so I’m a bit scarred by these encounters. Remember when the MCU touted their first LGBTQ+ representation, and it ended up being a one-off line from an unnamed character? Or hell, even the first same-sex kiss in the Star Wars franchise, which took place in the background of a scene? Neither of these things were enough.

Thankfully the MCU has been making actual strides lately in addressing this issue. Loki is confirmed to be bisexual, though they did promptly drop it and paired him up with a woman later. Yes, he’s still bisexual when he’s with a woman, and I’m truly happy for the bi’s. But same-sex relationships deserve to be seen, too. His gender fluidity was also majorly messed up, so it still left queer fans wanting. We did get Phastos in Eternals, though, and that was great.

The point I’m trying to make here, though, is that Star Wars needs to make a concerted effort for on-screen representation, just like the MCU is finally doing. They are woefully behind pretty much every major franchise on this front. If they leave it at these subtle clues, they really won’t be getting much credit for it from me. And if they kill one or both of them, I’ll be pretty pissed, too. We don’t need Another Dead Lesbian.

Other Twitter Gays are also being cautious about this.

Honestly, we’re all acting like we’ve been abused by Hollywood for years. Which, uh, we have. We’re not exactly worried for nothing here.

Good question.

I hope so!

Do you hear that, Andor creators? We have expectations!

We’re trauamtized.

 

Others seem pretty confident that they’re gay.

I’m happy for all those who are happy with this representation.  Being able to take the clues and just run with it is awesome.  I’m still scared to do it, but good for these people!

 

Should we have faith in Andor?

So far, Andor has taken a look at the more marginalized in the wider Star Wars universe. Andor comes from an indigenous group of people who were victimized by the Empire. The message is loudly anti-fascist and I’m enjoying how bold it is with its message. So maybe I should trust that these showrunners aren’t going to leave us hanging on this. 

Vel and Cinta are named characters, which makes this effort markedly different than that first onscreen kiss. Those two characters did apparently have names, but without googling, most people will not remember them. Vel and Centa are part of the main ensemble, so it’s much easier to remember them. Considering we are only halfway through the season, I’m likely jumping the gun on this. So I suppose we just need to wait and see.

Stay tuned for our weekly Andor reviews!

Let us know what you think.

Was this clear enough? Do they need more?  Do you think they will?

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.


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