The change.org petition was created seven days ago by Joshua Yehl who was friends with Christopher Andrew “Drew” Leinonen — one of the 49 victims of the mass shooting that took place at the gay nightclub Pulse. Yehl writes to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger, asking that the new character draw inspiration from Leinonen. Here is an excerpt from the petition:
On June 12, 2016, the world lost one of its most passionate Star Wars fans. On that day, 49 voices cried out and were silenced by hate. One of them was my best friend, Christopher Andrew “Drew” Leinonen. He and I bonded over many things, but nothing brought us together like Star Wars.
Yehl has garnered nearly 5,000 signatures, using the hashtag #PutDrewInStarWars on social media to spread the word. He writes that an LGBT character would not just be for Leinonen but for all the Orlando shooting victims.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams said earlier this year that the film franchise is about inclusivity and welcomes the idea of having a gay character.
““I would love it,” he said in an interview with the The Daily Beast. “To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.”