I watched the first episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi last night, and I’d say it was pretty good. I’ve been warned by a few people its a “bait and switch” and we’ll get less Obi-Wan and more Sith Inquisitor Reva, but that remains to be seen. Her character so far is decent: dark, conniving, and ruthless, if a bit hot-headed, but certainly not dumb.
What is dumb is this article about LucasFilm prepping Moses Ingram (who plays Reva) for the coming racist backlash about her character. Two quotes stand out:
In her interview with the Independent, the “Obi-Wan” actress tackles diversity issues in the franchise. “To me, it’s long overdue. If you’ve got talking droids and aliens, but no people of colour, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s 2022, you know. So we’re just at the beginning of that change. But I think to start that change is better than never having started it.”The Post Millenial.com
No people of colour?
So this guy is white?
And this guy?
And this guy?
(No, seriously, Jar Jar was played by Ahmed Best)
And who can forget this guy, the MOST iconic voice in Star Wars?
Star Wars has always had people of all races. It’s Science Fiction, which gives you the license to bring in darn near anyone with any background. Almost all of the portrayals have been good, and when they aren’t, its normally the studios fault. Lando Calrissian plays an awesome character in The Empire Strikes Back, and fans love him. James Earl Jones will never be forgotten for voicing Darth Vader.
Finn would have been a cool character had Rian Johnson not gutted his backstory to prop up Rey. I and many fans thought it was cool to see the man behind the stormtrooper helmet, but then Rian Johnson sacrificed him to become the butt of jokes in The Last Jedi. Remember when he uncovered that the Resistance was buying weapons on the black market illegally while on Canto Bight? That cool side story lasted for all of 30 seconds, so you could be forgiven for missing it. Wouldn’t it have been cool if Finn spent the films coming to grips with the Resistance using similar methods to the First Order? What if he had come from a crappy backwater planet that the First Order had rescued? The fact that Finn was a mediocre character had nothing to do with fans and everything to do with crappy directing, crappy plots and a box-ticking thinking when it comes to putting diversity on screen.
But the article doesn’t stop, because it has this gem:
John Boyega of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy has said that their experience with the franchise has included a racial component to it. In order to comply with Chinese authorities, Disney shrunk Boyega’s character on the “The Force Awakens” poster in December 2015.The Post Millenial
So where’s the outrage over this? Please actors and actresses, jump all over this one like you do with every single social issue here in the United States. But we know you won’t, because that sweet, sweet cash will keep your mouth shut.
To recap: there have always been people of color in Star Wars. Always. Some get great characters, some don’t. When the character is well acted and well developed, people love it. When that doesn’t happen, fans don’t like it. That goes for every character in Star Wars. Americans love good Star Wars characters, but the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t like black people.
Now, I’m sure some dumbass on Reddit will claim to be a Star Wars fan and make a bunch of racists remarks on black characters. To which I say…so what? I’m sure some racist loser wishes Lando Calrissian was white. Nobody takes that guy or gal seriously. Heck, one could say that when fans fall in love with good, well developed characters that are portrayed by black people, it helps breakdown any racist tendencies they might have had.
I hope Disney gives us some good characters in the Obi-Wan series, and I hope they make Reva an intriguing, cool antagonist. Because perhaps what we need is a new hope.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you liked this article, why not buy one of the authors books? You can even get the audible version to distract you on your drive to work about the high cost of fuel these days.