It’s been two weeks since Star Wars fans graced the halls of the Anaheim Convention Center for Star Wars Celebration. The post-con blues is certainly real but remembering the moments of joy and passion has been a great remedy. One of the most underrated moments that still has this Star Wars fan excited for the future was the A Galaxy for Everyone: LatinX Representation in Star Wars panel. On the last day of Star Wars Celebration, a powerhouse of Latinx creators had a candid discussion on the importance of diverse representation in the Star Wars universe.
The panel was moderated by Andres Cabera who was joined by Catrina Dennis, Hector Navarro, John Rocha, Dani Fernandez, and Kayla Dom Soto. If you are a fan of pop culture, chances are these names ring plenty of bells. From the onset, it was clear that the panelists represented a wide range of Latinx cultures in more ways than one and really showed that we are not a monolith. The start of the panel had its fair share of jokes and fun as they discussed their favorite Star Wars romantic ships, Latinx Star Wars characters, as well as other banter that had the crowd engaged even on a Sunday morning of a four-day convention. However, the highlights of the panel were when things got a tad bit more serious.
As questions began to flow aboit representation in Star Wars, the conversations quickly gave way to discussions focused on Latinx representation in media as a whole. While three out of the four new Star Wars series coming to Disney+ feature Latinx leads, the panelists insisted that this can’t be the end goal. Dani Fernandez passionately expressed the need for more Latinx representation behind the camera. John Rocha also added that as a demographic, Latinx moviegoers are the butts in the seats, so all aspects of the cinema process should reflect that. To push it even further, they also discussed that we need to be able to tell all kinds of stories and not just the stories of Latinx culture as it just plays Latinx creators into a box where they can only tell certain stories. It was a great reminder to not be satisfied with what you are given but to push further to achieve what we deserve.
On a weekend full of amazing panels celebrating Star Wars, I truly believe that these conversations need to be on bigger stages and at times that can garner bigger crowds. Just seeing a panel of Star Wars fans who looked like me and shared my experiences at one of the biggest conventions of the year gave me just as much joy as seeing the Latinx actors on the main stage. A room of fans felt seen and I think it could have impacted even more people with a more lucrative stage and timeslot. Further, there should be more than a Latinx panel to push the narratives for representation. Star Wars is for all and to really show that, Star Wars Celebration should be pushing these types of panels as hard as a panel discussing the newest merchandise that is getting ready to be launched.
Going into Star Wars Celebration 2023 in London next year, it is my hope and dream to see more panels about representation on the agenda. The Star Wars fandom can be one the most beautiful ones there is but it can also be dark and ugly. To place the shine on the beauty, there has to be a place at Star Wars Celebration and conventions like it to raise the voices of marginalized actors, creators, and fans alike. Not just on a small stage at the earliest possible time on the last day of the convention. I had never felt safer than in a room with other Latinx Star Wars fans of Sunday’s panel. I hope Star Wars Celebration sees the benefit of panels like this and opens up the floor to even more communities to voice their passion for this fandom.