The newly released Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars book has introduced character Nightsister Merrin as pansexual.
The writer, Sam Maggs, was reportedly instructed to make the character’s sexuality “clear and canonical” by Lucasfilm and Respawn Entertainment.
Both are studios responsible for Star Wars stories.
Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars, published by Random House Worlds, was released May 7, 2023. It is a continuation of the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which itself is set five years after the events of Revenge of the Sith.
The story follows Jedi Knight Cal Kestis and his crew of the ship Stinger Mantis. It is set in the five years between the video games Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019) and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor (2023).
Battle Scars is sitting at an embarrassing 3.3-star rating on Amazon, which is notably awful for the platform.
Despite its average reception, Maggs has discussed the introduction of Merrin’s sexuality and her interest in the character in several interviews.
“I thought Merrin was the most interesting character in the game,” Maggs stated. “I thought her story held a ton of potential. I wanted to know exactly how she was feeling. I love an anti-hero. I love a complicated sort of lady, which we don’t get to see a lot in fiction who’s still a good guy. I love everything about her. And so I immediately wanted to dive into her perspective, and her thoughts, and her story, and expand it.”
Maggs, who describes herself as a “queer author”, said that it’s important for her to tell “queer stories” in order to have representation for fans.
She also notes that Merrin was originally envisioned as pansexual by Respawn Entertainment.
Pansexuality is defined by today’s standards as being sexually or romantically attracted to people regardless of their sex or gender.
“So, that was an established thing when I came on to writing this book, something that the Respawn team wanted to explore with this book, and wanted to establish with this book was Merrin’s pansexuality so that it would be clear, canonical, and also is something that the book gives us a unique opportunity to explore,” Maggs said.
She also explains that there is not a lot of time in video games to have romance arcs with extraneous characters. With that said, writing a book about Cal and the crew gave her the ability to explore their sexualities further.
“…And also, again, the games being from Cal’s perspective, this was a really unique opportunity to get Merrin’s thoughts and establish the way she feels about people in a really intimate way.”
One Amazon reviewer wrote: “The first half of the novel focuses largely on the relationship between Merrin and Fret, which for me personally seemed very out of character for Merrin.”
Overall, the poor reception of the novel seems to stem from the first half of the book being slow and mostly out of character.
Some believe the discourse of a character’s sexuality might be to drum up interest for a novel that isn’t doing so well sales-wise.