The new Star Wars canon will have it's first gay character added with the release of Star Wars: Lords of the Sith this April.
Upcoming novel, Lords of the Sith by Paul S Kemp will introduce the character of Moff Mors, Del Rey editor Shelly Shapiro has confirmed. Shapiro described the character as an Imperial who is an "extremely capable leader" and "also happens to be a lesbian".
Previous instances of same-sex relationships in the Star Wars universe have had a degree of ambiguity, such as Karen Traviss's addition to the decanonized Legacy of the Force series of Goran Beviin and Medrit Vasur, two Mandalorian men who were in a committed same-sex relationship and intended to marry.The reference was felt to be very subtle and many readers missed it completely.
Same-sex relationships have also been explored in Star Wars gaming: BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic series allowed players to form relationships regardless of gender. But the message has been inconsistent, too: When the game series' spiritual successor The Old Republic launched, only heterosexual relationships were allowed, with the words 'gay' and 'lesbian' being censored with BioWare reasoning that they did not exist in Star Wars universe. The MMO's expansion pack Rise of the Hutt Cartel reintroduced same-sex relationships, but wa criticized for seemingly segregating the galaxy's LGBT citizens to a single planet.
During an interview with Big Shiny Robot Shapiro welcomed the introduction of further diversity in the Star Wars universe. She stated that the addition of the character wasn't about making a statement, explaining that more diversity "just makes sense". Author, Paul S Kemp, similarly praised the new-found inclusiveness of the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars: Lords of the Sith, by Paul S Kemp, is available from 28th April 2015.