A Recent History Of People Angry Over Minorities & Women Playing Heroes
The ridiculous tweets condemning Star Wars VII as anti-white may be trolling, but they are only the latest in a long history of people actually getting upset when people of color or women are cast in their favorite film franchises. All in all, it's been a tough go for straight, white dudes lately. They used to be the only people who could own property and vote, and now they're not the only people who can play heroes in movies. Tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens went on sale yesterday, and with it came a hashtag: #BoycottStarWarsVII. Those who tweeted it with supposed sincerity claimed that the new film was "anti-white propaganda" promoting "#whitegenocide" at the hands of J.J. Abrams, who is not only anti-white but, gasp, Jewish.
The hashtag was soon overrun with people making fun of the originators of it, and then the Internet's outhouse, 4chan, started claiming that they started it as a troll.
This wouldn't be surprising considering that's kind of 4chan's thing, although Wired noted that the hashtag seemed to originate with Twitter user @darklyenlighten, who does not seem linked to the message boards.
He's also been tweeting racist crap for a while now, so he must be going for the long con, if it really is a con.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi and will even feature appearances from Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.
The first Star Wars movies to hit the scene in the late '70s and early '80s did feature a largely white cast, as well as a white man turned into a cyborg that was voiced by a black man. And aliens. And of course Lando Calrissian, but he was, spoiler alert, a traitor. The predominant heroes of the film were a few white men, a white woman, a couple robots and a Wookie.
This new film contains three main characters who aren't white males at all. First, there's Finn, played by John Boyega, who we first meet as a Stormtrooper working for the Empire. He's also black. Then, there's also Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) who is an X-Wing pilot. Isaac is Guatemalan American. And then there's Rey, a scavenger who lives among a number of old, broken spaceships, played by Daisy Ridley. Ridley is white, but she's also a woman.
The film will also star Adam Driver (a white man) as dark warrior Kylo Ren, Lupita Nyong'o (a black woman) as pirate Maz Kanta, and Andy Serkis (a white man) as Kylo Ren's master. There will also be robots and, once again, a Wookie.
It's easy to see how—troll or not—people would assume that the hashtag was sincere. It falls into the realm of Poe's Law, when a parody or troll of a fundamentalist idea is impossible to tell from a heartfelt expression of those same thoughts. It's easy to fall for, because there have been a lot of laughable complaints about casting lately, particularly in reboots of old franchises where roles traditionally taken up by white men have been recast with people of color or women.
Remember when the Ghostbusters reboot announced all the 'busters were going to be played by women, and a bunch of dudes were really mad about it? And then, Charlize Theron played a badass in Mad Max! That was a shock to fictional apocalypse story purists, who somehow forgot that one of Mad Max's most badass characters in the original trilogy was played by Tina Turner—who, last anyone checked, is a black woman.
What other things is our horrible progressive society ruining by refusing to fill every role that isn't a murder victim, villain or sex worker with white men? Well, they're remaking America's greatest cinematic achievement, Road House, with MMA fighter Ronda Rousey in the role formerly filled by Patrick Swayze. People were also mad when The Hunger Games' Rue was cast as a black girl, even though the author of the novels specified she had dark skin. Some people also threw a fit when it was announced that there would be a remake of Annie with a black Annie.
There are also people who were actually livid about Hannibal fan fiction that ran with the charged tension between Dr. Lecter and profiler Will Graham on the NBC show, because apparently a deranged cannibalistic serial killer is cool, but making him bisexual or gay in made-up fan stories is not. And let's not even get started on that black James Bond outrage.