The first human face we see in the new teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is actor John Boyega — and some people aren't too happy about it.
While the trailer for the seventh installment of the epic fantasy all but broke the Internet over the weekend, some Star Wars fans can't seem to wrap their head around the appearance of the Attack the Block star as a black stormtrooper lost in the desert in a galaxy far, far away.
For die-hard Star Wars fans, Boyega's appearance in stormtrooper armor doesn't mesh with the history of the fictional Star Wars universe. After all, aren't all of those stormtroopers meant to be clones of Jango Fett, merciless bounty hunter of Star Wars Episode III: Attack of the Clones, father of the enigmatic Boba Fett in the original trilogy, and decidedly not black? Others compared the trailer to a scene from Mel Brooks' classic 1987 spoof Space Balls, while others still offered, um, more interesting critiques.
Boyega offered a classy response to his critics on Instagram on Saturday:
Boyega's right: Star Wars fans should probably stop obsessing over the significance — narrative or otherwise — of his skin color in the film.
"A black stormtrooper can very well be a black stormtrooper in the Star Wars Galaxy without there being any great significance to it," explains the Atlantic's Kriston Capps in his excellent analysis of race in the Star Wars universe. "What distinguishes the Star Wars universe from the Star Trek universe is the fact that, outside of the goose-stepping ranks of the Imperial military structure, its universe is pretty chill on race, if not totally post-racial. No one in the Rebellion bats an eye when Lando Calrissian and Nien Nunb copilot the Millennium Falcon during the Battle of Endor in The Return of the Jedi, even though the former is a black man from Bespin's Cloud City and the latter a fish-faced smuggler from the humid caves of Sollust. Neither of them appears to mind taking orders from Admiral Ackbar, the high-ranking Mon Calamari military mastermind, either."
So, well played, Boyega. We're looking forward to seeing you kick ass come December 2015.