Mark Hamill claims "Of course Luke Skywalker is gay", and why that's a huge deal for Hollywood

The space opera has been getting a lot of LGBT attention lately

Earlier this month, Mark Hamill took part in an hour-long Q&A with the Oxford College Student Union.

When the question of alternative sexuality came up within the Star Wars universe, he gave what many considered to be a perfect answer:

"Fans will say, 'I'm getting bullied at school. I'm afraid to come out because my parents are religious and they'll hate me.' It just breaks your heart. And they would say to me, 'Could Luke be gay?' And I would say it's meant to be interpreted by you. If you think he's gay, of course he's gay!"

This is, of course, just the latest addition to a long list of questions dealing with potential LGBT characters in Star Wars ever since the release of The Force Awakens.

It all kicked off when viewers noticed a particular chemistry between Poe Dameron (played by Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega).

During the pre-release hype, Isaac answered questions about romantic ties in the movie, and he answered with a non-gender specific "Yes, there will be a person I become involved with", which fans retroactively defined as potentially being Finn.

Boyega himself courted questions on the topic at this year's BAFTAs, responding: "[As] far as I’m concerned, when JJ [Abrams] sat us down to go through the script, it was a bromance. But now I’m learning what Mark Hamill said before when he didn’t know that Darth Vader was Luke’s father: you never know what they’re going to pull. I’m looking at the director Rian [Johnson, director of Episode VIII] closely so he can get me involved early, so I can prepare myself. So who knows?”

The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams, who is staying on as a producer for Episode VIII, also talked about it at this year's Oscar Wilde Awards: "I would love it. To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counter-intuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world."

All of this points towards someone - be it Luke, Poe and/or Finn - finally becoming Star Wars first official alternative sexuality character.

And that is a HUGE deal.

Think over the most hugely profitable movies of all time. Avatar. Titanic. Jurassic World. The Lord Of The Rings series. Any of the Marvel comic-book movies. Not one LGBT character to be found. J.K Rowling only decided to tell the world that Professor Dumbledore was gay once all of the Harry Potter books had already been published, with no explicit mention of it anywhere within the novels or the subsequent movies.

While prime-time TV seems to be doing a better job of representing the LGBT communities, mainstream cinema is still way behind. For a decade-spanning, fan-favourite series like Star Wars to finally put a gay or bi character front-and-centre would finally represent a movement towards equality in cinema.

The Force Awakens managed to right the ship of previous Star Wars movies in terms of sexism and racism by having a kick-ass female take the lead, as well as finally having a non-Caucasian in a central role. Here's hoping Episode VIII will course-correct the solely hetero-normative representation so far, too. We'll know when the movie arrives on December 15th 2017.