Over the weekend, Disney revealed the latest poster for the next installment of the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens. While there was undoubtedly excitement about the franchise, the reveal also gave racist social media trolls an opportunity to shine with their #boycottstarwars hashtag.
Many of the supporters of the hashtag believed that The Force Wakens supported “white genocide” because of John Boyega’s starring role and the multicultural cast. Ironically, the Star Wars franchise has always included a multicultural cast— from Samuel L. Jackson, Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones to now John Boyega and Lupita Nyong’o.
“There’s some kind of sick, beautiful irony in the fact that those boycotters completely missed the point of all of these films,” wrote Jessica Lachenal for The Mary Sue. “They somehow don’t see that they’re the Empire, they’re the evil people; a clone army stamping out those that are different from them, enslaving alien populations, promoting ‘order’ and homogeny through totalitarian control and fear.”
These boycotters are reminiscent of the initial fanboys who were outraged that Boyega was playing a storm trooper, even though native New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison played all of the storm troopers in the prequel films. Diverse casting tends to ignite racism in the geek community.
However, director Ava DuVernay responded to the boycotters with the #CelebrateStarWarsVII hashtag, showing that solidarity is greater than hate.
— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) October 19, 2015
She created the hashtag as a response to this tweet:
— Tor Haugan (@Tor_H) October 19, 2015
DuVernay turned the discussion from a negative bashing against diversity, to a positive discussion in support of it.
— BlackGirlNerds (@BlackGirlNerds) October 19, 2015
— Anson Ling (@ns0n) October 19, 2015
— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) October 19, 2015
— Tananarive Due (@TananariveDue) October 19, 2015
DuVernay, who has made it her mission to diversify the film world’s talent pool with her company, Array, has become an important voice in the support for diversity in Hollywood, and this incident is just the latest example of her passion and power.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens December 18. Check out the latest trailer below: