There are things in this world I love. Videos of puppies, cool fall days where I can dress up like a basic girl with my pumpkin spice latté, and a copy of “Wuthering Heights.” You know what else I love? Science fiction. Some of my earliest memories are of me watching “X-Files” (I wanted to be Scully so badly), “Star Trek” (especially the Next Generation – Jean-Luc Picard was the best captain ever) and “Star Wars.”
“Star Wars” was my brother’s favorite movie series, and episodes 4-6 are still some of my favorite movies. When the announcement that episode VII, “The Force Awakens,” was in fact a-go, I became annoyed and nervous.
Annoyed because it seems we as a society cannot let things die — new “Harry Potter” movies (which I am excited for), Stephanie Meyer admitting that she has started on “Midnight Sun” again, a remake of horror classic “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, and now “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.” There is practically no originality left in Hollywood.
Nervous, because episodes I-III relied so heavily on CGI that George Lucas just seemed to forget about acting, plot or writing so I am now convinced this will be a repeat of that travesty.
What did not annoy me was the diversity within the film that became obvious in the trailers which show the leads as a black man and a woman. In fact, I did not think about it. A gender and racially diverse cast did not strike me as odd until someone informed me of the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII.
Though some have theorized that the hashtag was created by the production company for publicity for “Star Wars,” it appears that the origins of the hashtag were a hoax by @DarklyEnligthen on Oct. 18 to irritate racists, but was later absorbed by actual bigots to protest the film.
Now some may argue that I did not find it odd because I have rose colored glasses on regarding the treatment of marginalized groups within the entertainment industry (false). The truth is, this never occurred to me because “Star Wars,” especially given that it began in 1977, has always had cast members of varying racial and ethnic backgrounds and strong female leads.
Darth Vader was voiced by James Earl Jones, Mark Austin as Boba Fett, Lando Calrissian by Billy Dee Williams, Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks, Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala/Padmé, and Carrie Fischer as Princess Leia Organa, just to name a few. “Star Wars” has always been an inclusive film, albeit one which was not very diverse among varying religious or other ethnic groups and people of color who were cast, however it is even more inclusive as it will include a black man as a lead.
Apparently, the moment it became clear that director J.J. Abrams intended to feature a black male and female lead, the internet lost its mind. A vocal collective has taken the time from their angry existence’s to tweet their frustration.
Some of the tweets argue that the film promotes “white genocide” and that the director, J.J. Abrams, is a Jewish activist who is an “anti-white nut.” Another individual tweeted comments regarding how white parents would not want their daughters to “breed with black Stormtroopers” as a reason to boycott the movie.
Now, there is some light at the end of this disgusting tunnel. Many sci-fi nerds and decent human beings are responding to these vile comments with anger and humor. Many individuals have been tweeting their support of the lead by reminding the #BoycottStarWarsVII about James Earl Jones and Billy Dee Williams.
This sort of levity is being used to anger the trolls by fans of the franchise. The backlash of a loud few paints the majority of melanin-lacking sci-fi nerds like myself in a negative light. So the tweets of the strong base against these prejudicial individuals show the solidarity of the “Star Wars” community, and their support of women and the Black community.