Did you know 4 May is Star Wars Day? To celebrate we’re giving you the lowdown on some of the most iconic blind and partially sighted characters from science fiction.
To start with let’s look at a character from the Star Wars universe.
Chirrut Imwe, played by Donnie Yen, is a character who appears in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Chirrut Imwe has been blind since birth and becomes one of the Guardians of the Whills, a group of spiritual warrior-monks. He is a formidable martial artist who relies on his highly trained hearing to determine the positions of his opponents. The driving motivation of this character is his unwavering faith in the Force, he often repeats the phrase “I am one with the Force and the Force is with me”. Even though he is not a Jedi, Chirrut Imwe has some of the best fight scenes in the Star Wars film canon.
Daredevil is the superhero alter-ego of lawyer Matt Murdoch who was blinded as child in an accident involving radioactive waste. His exposure to radioactivity heightened his other senses to the level of supernatural ability. After his father’s death, Matt Murdoch began training with Stick, a master martial artist who was also blind, developing the skills that would allow him to become a masked vigilante. In 2015, the character of Daredevil gained huge exposure as Netflix released their own series based on the comic book.
Geordi La Forge is a character who featured in the series Star Trek: The Next Generation and the four associated films. Lieutenant Commander La Forge is the Chief Engineer aboard the starship Enterprise and uses his considerable mechanical skills to keep the crew on a steady course in the face of danger and adventure. Blind since birth, he uses a VISOR, a device that scans the electromagnetic spectrum and transmits into the brain to create a version of sight. However, it also causes Geordi persistent pain. He later receives cybernetic implants which are less cumbersome and painful than the VISOR.
Toph Beifong is a character who first appeared in the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender and then later in The Legend of Korra. She was blind from birth and stifled by her overprotective parents who believed she was helpless due to her disability. She discovers a talent for earthbending which she uses to help her “see”. Toph becomes one of the most powerful earthbenders while her pluckiness and humour made her a firm favourite with fans.
Although these characters exist in different universes, they share many similarities apart from being blind or partially sighted. They each demonstrate tremendous resilience and determination, relentlessly honing their skills even in the face of adversity. They aren’t perfect and they make mistakes but they are also heroic when their friends need them to be. Most importantly, they are noted and noteworthy for their abilities, rather than their disabilities.
We have many science fiction titles in audio, braille and large print, including some from the Star Wars and Star Trek series – explore the collection in the RNIB Library.