By Kalama Hines
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
Only white people were allowed.
At least that is what a massive group of alleged Star Wars fans have said with the use of the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII on social media.
When Disney announced the next installment of the Star Wars saga, the world went nuts. The unveiling of the first official trailer came during Monday Night Football on Oct. 18, and once again the world went nuts.
The second eruption, however, was based on the new face of the story. In an era with rally cries of “black lives matter,” the selection of John Boyega, a black man, as the newest member of the Jedi Council has somehow been viewed as “white genocide.”
Let’s forget that the council already included an orange male, a green female and, well, Yoda. Let’s forget that Mace Windu, played by Samuel L. Jackson, was a member of that same council. Let’s even forget that the whole saga is a complete brainchild of director George Lucas.
It isn’t based on a set of 100-year-old best-selling novels. It isn’t based on religious scriptures. It isn’t based on real-life events. It’s a story, and a damn good one.
But some of us are upset that Boyega, a black man from England, will carry the newest extension to this story?
Isn’t this the same Hollywood that selected Christian Bale, a white man from England, to play Moses, an Egyptian, the Hollywood that chose Angelina Jolie, daughter of accused racist Jon Voight, to play real-life character Mariane Pearl, a woman of black and Asian descent.
After decades of “whitewashing” characters known to be of minority groups, this faction of whackjobs has the audacity to be outraged by a fictional character having anything but white skin.
What about John Wayne’s cowboy’ed-out portrayal of Mongolian Emperor Genghis Khan.
For me, this hits especially close to home. Having seen Rob Schneider sarcastically play a Hawaiian and George Clooney attempt to play one seriously, I have nothing but excitement for the possibility of minority leads.
This outrage is all the more humorous when you realize that is started with the idea of a black storm trooper – revealed by previously released teases.
After all, everyone knows that a real storm trooper is white. Except, of course, they aren’t.
As revealed in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the troopers are in fact clones of bounty hunter Jango Fett, played by Maorian Temuera Morrison. Sure, racist groups may see Russell Crowe when they think of New Zealand. But before there were Kiwis, the Maori people inhabited New Zealand with tattooed faces and badass rugby-playing genetics.
We want to kick racism? Let’s say it is a simple starting point to accept the idea that somewhere in another galaxy far away, centuries ago, there may have been powerful non-white people.
There are bigger things to worry about, ultimately. I am worried much less about the color of his skin than his acting chops. The last thing we fanboys/girls need is another Hayden Christensen (no matter his race, color or creed) pissing on our excitement.
John Boyega photographed Justin van Vliet for The Glass Magazine.