A close friend of Orlando victim Christopher Leinonen has urged the makers of Star Wars to honour him in the franchise’s next film.
Joshua Yehl has started a petition to get his friend who died in the Orlando attack, Christopher ‘Drew’ Leinonen, immortalised in the Star Wars franchise.
In a letter accompanying the petition, Yehl requests that Leinonen is honoured by using his likeness as inspiration for the first LGBT character to feature in the Star Wars universe.
Yehl adds that he is happy for filmmakers to include his friend in whatever way Star Wars creators see fit.
“This is a universe with Wookies, Jawas, and Hutts, so why can’t there be a visible LGBT character on screen?” he writes in the petition.
Yehl came up with the idea while driving home from Leinonen’s funeral.
“Nothing would make him happier than for all the little gay nerds out there to have their own Star Wars character to look up to,” he added.
The two had been friends for several years and solidified their bond with their mutual love of the franchise.
Yehl addressed the letter to Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and “all those behind the Star Wars films”.
He has already received 2,134 signatures as well as a massive amount of positive feedback on Twitter with the hashtag #PutDrewInStarWars
“This character will not only honour Drew,” Yehl continued.
“But all of the other victims at Pulse in Orlando, including his boyfriend Juan Ramon Guerrero, and every LGBT person to ever lose their life to hate.”
49 people were killed and 53 injured in the shocking terrorist hate crime attack earlier this month, which saw a gunman open fire inside The Pulse gay bar in Orlando, Florida.
Leinonen was killed alongside his boyfriend – Juan Ramon Guerrero – with some reports suggesting that the pair’s funerals would take place simultaneously.
Last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens featured a close bond between Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) – with rumours spreading that Disney is setting up a gay romance between two of the film’s main characters.