Reva From The Upcoming 'Obi Wan Kenobi' Series And 4 Roles In Star Wars Portrayed By Black Women – Collider

Disney’s upcoming ‘Obi-Wan’ series marks the introduction of Moses Ingram’s Reva.
Star Wars has been a monumental staple in the galaxies of the sci-fi and fantasy genre for nearly 50 years. Approaching any fan of the iconic space-based franchise and asking them “Who’s your favorite character?” usually entices an exciting rundown of whom that character or characters are. With the impending release of Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, fans are getting a reintroduction of the iconic titular character played by Ewan McGregor, while also getting an introduction to the Imperial Inquisitor Reva, played by Moses Ingram.
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Reva’s debut in Obi-Wan Kenobi adds her to a very short list of roles portrayed by Black women within the Star Wars realm. While Black audience members have gotten to see themselves in the legendary Billy Dee Williams, Academy Honorary Award recipient Samuel L Jackson, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning Donald Glover, and Golden Globe winner John Boyega, the overall list still remains very scarce. As any fan knows, representation is often sought out by those who wish to see themselves in the characters they celebrate. Star Wars has a huge, colorful galaxy filled with beings of all walks of life, and its fan base mirrors it. The greatest part of Moses Ingram’s arrival marks the possibility that Black women who are fans of the space saga will be able to see themselves represented more often. With about 460 planets in the Star Wars galaxy, there’s always room for anyone of any creed to make their mark.
Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong’o brought the wise-cracking and well-intentioned alien Maz Kanata to life in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Known as one of the wisest beings in her galaxy, Maz helped protect many that journeyed her way, even going as far as protecting Luke Skywalker’s iconic lightsaber. Nyong’o’s portrayal of Maz Kanata earned her critical praise, as well as garnering a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress, and understandably so.
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Even though she was portraying Maz Kanata through CGI, Nyong'o's natural bright energy throughout Maz's mannerisms and quirks on film shined through. It would have been a delight to see the actor in person, but we’re more than grateful someone of her caliber got to step foot in the Star Wars universe in some fashion.
Actress Thandiwe Newton made history as the first Black woman with a prominent role in the overall Star Wars franchise, as the headstrong character known as Val. Making her debut in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Val was a character of complexity that deserved a longer showcasing in the film. Audiences experienced Val’s voyage of working against (and alongside) a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), and even experiencing love with character Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) throughout her journey.
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Val’s indomitable characteristics were important to see as a black woman trekking through the Star Wars galaxy, and with more opportunity and character progression, Val could have shown her true prowess among the greats.
Naomi Ackie’s debut in 2019’s Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise Of Skywalker as skilled archer Jannah was exciting for numerous reasons, and it officially marked the first Black woman a part of the Skywalker Saga in human form and involved in an important storyline. Jannah’s backstory was similar to Finn (John Boyega)'s, a former stormtrooper who was also unwilling to follow the evils of The First Order, hoping for a better quality of life.
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While Jannah didn’t have a huge avenue to display her talents, Naomi Ackie put great detail into embodying the character, taking up horseback training for several months to prepare for the role. The Skywalker Saga is concluded on film, but that never means a future Jannah appearance isn’t possible. It would be a treat to see a deeper exploration of Jannah's backstory as a child pulled into the dark world of The First Order, or even exploring her bond with iconic Captain and General of the Rebel Alliance Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams)
The force-sensitive Mirialan Jedi Luminara Unduli has had many appearances throughout Star Wars content, but her portrayal by Kenyan model and actress Mary Oyaya in Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones was a major milestone. Although Oyaya portrayed an alien-like character in the franchise, she physically got the opportunity to embody Luminara Unduli, even wielding a lightsaber to fight alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi.
While Mary Oyaya only made a non-speaking appearance in film, her similar facial likeness has been continuously used to illustrate Unduli in Star Wars media such as The Clone Wars, Rebels, and various action figures that have been released. Luminara Unduli’s destiny throughout the galaxy’s realm is vastly important, and Oyaya’s early depiction of the Jedi deserves just as much praise.
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J.J Abrams and Katie McGrath On The Importance Of Representation In 'Star Wars'
J.J Abrams and Katie McGrath On The Importance Of Representation In 'Star Wars'
Movie/TV Infotainment writer for Collider. Author. Poe Dameron and BB-8 enthusiast.
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