Spark of Diversity: What Sabine Wren Means For Star Wars

by Bria LaVorgna | Originally posted at Tosche Station

Sometimes, the impact of a character can take you completely by surprise. I’d known for weeks and weeks before the premiere of Star Wars Rebels that I was excited for the show to start. It featured a family-like crew filled with characters who seemed right up my alley. What I didn’t realize until I sat down on my couch to watch Spark of Rebellion for the first time last year is what seeing Sabine Wren on the screen was going to mean to me. Finally, after twenty-four years, there was a main character in a Star Wars film or television show that looked like me and the full impact of this hit me like a ton of bricks as she took her bucket off for the first time.

It’s not like I didn’t know that Sabine was going to be there. I was amongst those who loved Sabine’s character design from when they initially debuted it, wondered if she was human or alien because we’ve been burned before, and then rejoiced when they confirmed that she was a human character of color. There had been plenty of time for all of this information to sink in but somehow watching the episode made it seem so much more real to me. Sabine Wren was the sort of character I’d been waiting to see my entire life. All of this brought forth a giant mess of emotions that are difficult to fully describe to someone who has always been able to see a hero who looks like them in Star Wars before.

I wish that I’d been born later. I wish that I could’ve had the opportunity to watch Star Wars Rebels as a kid and see a teenage girl who looked like me up there on the screen. I wish that I could’ve had the chance at a younger age to watch an Asian woman be an integral part of our team of heroes with no one commenting on her race or gender as she blows things up to stop the enemy… artistically. I wish I’d been able to see a capable lady in the Star Wars universe who looked like me and who did more for the plot than serve as space scenery. I wish I’d had that extra positive reinforcement that Sabine will give all these young girls out there.

At the same time though, I’m happy. Tiny explosion obsessed Bria may not have had Sabine to look up to but there are hundreds, if not thousands, of young girls of color out there who can now look at the television screen each week and smile as they watch her kick butt across the galaxy. Some of them may be conscious of how important she is and some may not, but the important part is that she is there for them. My heart grows two sizes when every time I see a young girl dressed as Sabine at a convention and doubly so every time it’s an Asian girl.

So thank you, Rebels. Thank you to everyone involved with creating this show and creating a character like Sabine and then casting an actress of color to voice her. Thank you Rebels for giving us an Asian human female hero who not only can hold her own but has more to her character than being action girl. Thank you for finally bringing a character like this to the forefront for hundreds and hundreds of young girls to look up to.

Sabine Wren’s not just the sort of character that we Star Wars fans deserve — she’s the sort of character that we need.

headshot_briaBria works a relatively boring office job in Washington D.C. and compensates by filling up all of her spare time with nerdy things. She’s a Staff Writer for Tosche Station, co-runs White Hot Room, and still finds time to cosplay. You can find her on Twitter @chaosbria.

4 thoughts on “Spark of Diversity: What Sabine Wren Means For Star Wars

  1. This is a fantastic piece, Bria. I wish the fans I’ve heard griping about “forcing diversity down Star Wars’ fans throats” would read this and realize why intentional diversity when telling new stories and creating new characters matters.

    My daughter (8 years old) is a big Sabine fan, too. She was planning to be Sabine next Halloween until she saw TFA, and now she’s all about Rey. But this past Halloween she went trick-or-treating as Ashoka, Even though plenty of heroes look like her, I’m glad she’s getting diverse female role models from the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

  2. So is she confirmed to be from the continent named Asia from the planet named Earth from the Sol System in the galaxy named The Milky Way?

    1. Did you know that there was a bit of controversy when Finn was revealed for The Force Awakens? None of the people who complained about him thought that he was some alien race or a non-Earthling human. So this argument does not hold up at all.

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