Both a brand spanking new poster and fresh teaser debuted on 18 October, ahead of JJ Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens being released at the end of this year. And whilst the promotional imagery got most Star Wars fans excited about the upcoming seventh instalment, it appears some weren't so keen on their focus.
Some viewers of the material chose to voice their negativity about the film on Twitter, with a select few trying to start the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII trending. Those who began the hashtag were trying to argue that the film wasn't sticking true to the originals, and therefore should not be watched, all because "the lead character is black". Some even went so far as to say the film was "anti-white" and "promotes white genocide".
In their discussions, they mainly touched upon British actor John Boyega's involvement. The 23-year-old will be playing new character Finn in the film and has been present in all of the trailers so far, which begs the question − why are haters of the new movie in uproar right now? The cast of Episode VII has been known for many, many months, so it seems odd that the detractors would appear at this time specifically. It can only be assumed that their viewpoints were sparked by the new footage and artwork that were released only a few hours before.
The poster especially makes it obvious who the leads are going to be, more so than the trailer before it, undoubtedly to the disappointment of hardcore Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) fans. But many seem to be forgetting that this is a new movie, with new characters and there is certainly room for them within the now-expanding franchise. A walking Wookie, epic light battles in space and a 73-year-old Ford doing any sort of action movie is believable, but impressive black actors in lead roles is a stretch-too-far in the imagination? Come on.
This is not the first time the idea of race has caused controversy in association with the upcoming instalment, however. Way back in February 2013, director Abrams addressed questions about the diverse cast, saying that he deliberately wanted to change things in both the industry and the genre by having a more well-rounded bag of actors.
Talking in an interview with By The Way With Jeff Garlin, he said: "We wrote these characters but when we went to cast it, one of the things I had felt, having been to the Emmy's a couple times — you look around that room and you see the whitest f****** room in the history of time. It's just unbelievably white. And I just thought, we're casting this show and we have an opportunity to do anything we want, why not cast the show with actors of colour?"