Heresy of the Week – Of course there are black Stormtroopers, morons

john boyega stormtrooper

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

“With the release of the new Star Wars trailer, a depressing number of internet-dwellers have crawled out of their caves to complain about one particular point. They mask their criticism in the clothes of fandom, but only to disguise the bigotry at hits heart. No, there is absolutely no problem with Star Wars having black Stormtroopers.”

I’ve already blogged about my response to the Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens trailer, and how I went from cynical to childish and gleeful anticipation in the time it took to fade in on Tatooine (Maybe not Tatooine -Ed). Of course, whilst that was the overwhelming response of viewers of the 88 second trailer was similar to mine, there were naturally those naysayers who insisted on doing it all down.

Of course there were. This is online fandom, after all.

Now, being sceptical about the chances of the new Star Wars working out is fine. Not liking the trailer is fine. What I take exception to is when you take your petty bigotries — in this case, that the first face in the trailer was black, and dressed in a Stormtrooper uniform — and make it seem like it is legitimate fan criticism.

The line seemingly goes that the Stormtroopers are the successors to the clone troopers of the prequel films (Yes, I know, we have to accept that those films exist for the duration of this post -Ed), who were all clones of Jango Fett. Thus how could a Stormtrooper be of a different ethnicity. But there’s a couple of points this puddle-deep theory overlooks.

Firstly, the obvious: Temeura Morrison — who played Jango Fett and the clone troopers in the prequels — wasn’t white, he was Maori.

Secondly, think about it logically. The Emperor has just deposed the galactic government using, primarily, a secret order hard coded into the clone troops to butcher the Jedi. In his position you might, maybe, be a little paranoid about the same happening to you. You might, also, be tempted to replace the clones with something a little more conventional, especially as there was no longer a full-scale war to fight necesitating endless amounts of expendible cannon-fodder.

But the main problem is perceptional. The “Only black man in the galaxy” tag applied to Lando Calrissian in the original trilogy was a joke, but it did also highlight the lack of diversity in the Star Wars universe at that point. But this isn’t the 70s any more.

John Boyega will, I am sure, make an excellent Stormtrooper. He might even be able to shoot someone. And whilst it makes not the damnedest difference what colour he is, these new Star Wars movies are being made in a different society to the originals. I didn’t see you all climbing the walls when Samuel L. Jackson was cast as a Jedi, but there hadn’t been any black Jedi in the original trilogy.

My main point of contention, though, is that you idiots are making the whole fandom look like backwards facing morons. Your small-mindedness makes us all look bad.

So cut it the f**k out.


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