How Excited Should We Get About Diversity In The New 'Star Wars' Films?
I don’t know. I’m pretty damn excited. The casting rumors we’ve been hearing over the past few weeks have been of the most vanilla wafer variety. Saoirse Ronan and Benedict Cumberbatch are indeed delightful, talented people and I hope to hell they are all up in this franchise. But the most recent contenders? David Oyelowo and Michael B. Jordan? Well excuse me if I find that a little more exciting. Are we finally going to get a non-white lead in a Star Wars movie? Oh I know, I know, that’s a bunch of horsesh*t. Lando Calrissian was a black dude and he got to fly the Millenium Falcon. But with all (all) due respect to Lando, he was fourth string at best in those movies. I’m talking about a genuine lead.
And don’t even invoke Mace Windu to me. I’m not interested. New Star Wars overlord, JJ Abrams has shown he’s at least somewhat invested in encouraging diversity in the often white-washed genre of sci-fi. (Though the boost of Uhura from background player to third lead might have more to do with Zoe Saldana’s shapely legs than anything else.) And no, I don’t think Oyelowo and Jordan would be reading for a fourth-stringer. I choose to believe they’re up for a lead. Rumor has it the role is the descendent of either Windu or Calrissian. And that’s the bummer of the Star Wars franchise. In a sweeping saga populated by millions, we can narrow a black character down to two possible antecedents.
And after the furiously embarrassing racial stereotypes that plagued the recent prequels, Star Wars could use a shot in the arm. (Or the head, whatever.) I mean, Lucas may have cloaked those stereotypes in alien races, but anyone with nipples knew what was what. So which would I rather between the immensely talented Oyelowo (The Butler, like nine movies last year) and personal favorite Jordan (“Friday Night Lights,” Fruitvale Station)? Why the f*ck do I have to choose? That’s my question. Why not both?
(via The Latino Review)