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How Excited Should We Get About Diversity In The New 'Star Wars' Films?

By Joanna Robinson | Trade News | September 23, 2013 | Comments ()


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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.

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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?

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(via The Latino Review)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • black.bandit

    Has JJ Abrahms shown sensitivity to diversity in his other projects?

  • BillyMozart

    he cast two black leads in his NBC spy thriller, so I'm gonna say yeah.

  • Aaron Schulz

    Wish they wouldve gotten someone who has done fantasy movies to do these, peter jackson or guillermo, either or.

  • JK

    Also worth noting that the entire original trilogy fails the Bechdel test (only three female characters speak at all in the trilogy). So I'd be pretty excited to see female characters getting to do stuff, although Abrams' Star Trek record doesn't give me much hope.

  • Mrcreosote

    Star Wars gets a bum rap, but Star Trek did prove that all races, nationalities and genders can be led by a white dude. Let a woman run the ship and it gets lost for 70 years apparently. Also if your head of security is a woman she's going to die. And if it's a he, and he's a Klingon, every single adversary will be able to beat him up.
    Star Trek is kind of messed up you guys.

  • Joseph Howe

    Oh come on, one of the most historically progressive franchises in history and you still find a reason to bitch. Gotta love liberals.

  • DarthBetty

    crying in corner now.

  • Ben

    Considering that we've had both a black dude and a woman as lead command roles in various Star Trek shows you're kind of reaching with this.

  • Mrcreosote

    Again I will point out the woman got her ship lost in space (and time) and the "Black Dude" was relegated to the edge of the universe I'm not reaching as far as you might think. That being said, it was a little tongue in cheek.

  • Founder

    The black dude was kind of a big deal, what with being half a god and all.

  • Ben

    You say that like it was Janeways fault that they ended up in the fuckend of nowhere, it was a random space bloopy that's really kind of unpredictable. That would be like if a parked car got sideswiped by an out of control semi and you blame the car driver because she was a woman.

    I mean hell, it's not like she ended up captured and transformed into a borg giving all the fedrations secrets to the enemy.

    (Janeway fan for live and I will defend her for ever as being the most awesome captain)

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Dude. I completely agree and have had many debates with Mr. Syndrome on the topic. Everything is peaceful and accepting in the universe, as long as a white man is showing us the way.
    I was always way more troubled by the Ferengi - I mean did we need a race of space Jews that exemplified every awful stereotype the culture ever had? Whenever there's a Ferengi-focused episode I usually skip it for that reason.

  • fightchess

    Surely the two actors aren't up for the same role, there's quite the age gap between them?

  • Conor

    Personally, I'm not sure there's any place for an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era in Star Wars.

  • How about whale vaginas? Is there a place for them?

  • Conor

    As long as I'm captain of this tub, there's always room for whale coochie!

  • PDamian

    Both actors are fantastically talented, but Michael B. Jordan is fine. And as long as we're on the subject of whitewashing in science fiction, I'd like to place a request for Latinos and Asians in the new franchise. I'll settle for secondary roles, too; baby steps, y'all.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Michael B. Jordan is distractingly handsome. Add his inherent charm to the equation and I would be happy just to watch Star Wars: The One Man Show - with Jordan acting out all the parts.

    Actually, can we make that happen?

  • Fredo

    Michelle Yeoh and Demian Bichir as Jedi Masters, perhaps?

  • e jerry powell

    CHOW YUN-FAT, DAMMIT!

  • PDamian

    Hell yeah!

  • BendinIntheWind

    I believe you mean "foine". Because UNF.

  • PDamian

    You're absolutely right. And thank you for improving my knowledge of the vernacular. UNF, indeed.

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