Star Wars fan has launched a petition for the franchise to create a LGBTQ character in honor of his best friend, who was killed during the Orlando nightclub shooting

Joshua Yehl created the petition as a tribute to Drew Leinonen, along with his boyfriend Juan Ramon Guerrero, who were two of the 49 victims. On, he addressed Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Disney CEO Bob Iger:

While Star Wars is a sci-fi fantasy world with bizarre aliens and hulking monsters, it still features characters just like us. After A New Hope, steps were taken to expand and diversify the cast, giving us the smooth-talking Lando Calrissian and Rebel pilots played by people of color. The tradition of making Star Wars more inclusive continued with the casting of Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn, the main protagonists of The Force Awakens. It’s my hope that Star Wars will take another step forward by introducing their first-ever LGBT character in a movie.

He continued,

This is a universe with Wookies, Jawas, and Hutts, so why can’t there be a visible LGBT character on screen? This tragedy happened because of hate, but Star Wars is something that unites people, so fulfilling this request would only serve to bring more love into the world, and that's what Drew was all about. It’s vitally important that LGBT people are included in mainstream media because it will show that we don’t need to be feared or hated or hidden. We can be part of the rebellion and we can fight evil, and we can do it while being who we are with pride.

So far, the petition has over 4,000 supporters out of its goal of 5K signatures. Lucasfilm and Disney have yet to comment. Episode VIII, the next film in the Star Wars series, is set to be released in Dec. 2017. 

Below, watch Death Cab for Cutie's Nick Harmer's reaction to the tragic Orlando events at Bonnaroo 2016: