‘Star Wars’ Faces Backlash Following MLK, Jr. Tweet

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Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

The Star Wars franchise has faced some challenges in recent years, primarily related to the depiction of diverse characters in the sequel trilogy — Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

Star Wars The Last Jedi Kelly Marie Tran
Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

Related: Rian Johnson ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy Seemingly Scrapped

First, Rose Tico actress Kelly Marie Tran noted that she left social media and sought therapy following Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi backlash:

“I think we met [Tran and Jannah actress, Naomi Ackie] and immediately sort of hit it off and sort of talked about all of the struggles of being people who did not grow up in privileged backgrounds, very new to this industry, what that meant, what we would be dealing with. And I think the biggest thing that sort of came from that was making sure that you don’t become isolated or silent about the things that you’re dealing with.

The leading actor John Boyega, who played ex-stormtrooper Finn in the final Skywalker Saga trilogy’s top trio alongside Daisy Ridley (Rey) and Oscar Isaac (Resistance pilot Poe Dameron), spoke out about feeling sidelined as a Black character in Star Wars.

Among his many statements, Boyega shared:

“What I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are, and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up. You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything…”

Credit: EW/ Lucasfilm

Related: Liam Neeson Says He Would Come Back to ‘Star Wars,’ Then Quickly Retires

Now, Star Wars is facing social media backlash due to a Tweet shared on the franchise’s official Twitter account this afternoon. The Martin Luther King, Jr. day tribute read:

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, we honor Dr. King and celebrate his legacy. The Lucasfilm family is committed to the fight for justice and equality in every corner of the galaxy. Each of us keeps the dream alive!

Almost immediately, social media users began posting retorts, citing the alleged treatment of both Tran and Boyega throughout their Star Wars tenures.

Twitter user K-2SO Nguyen passionately wrote:

stares in kelly marie tran’s character getting sidelined to appease racist and misogynistic star wars fans instead of defending her or shielding her from the undeserved vitriol she got

Related: John Boyega Defends JJ Abrams Amid ‘Star Wars’ Backlash

Mel said:

so where exactly were y’all when Kelly Marie Tran and John Boyega got attacked by racists on the daily

A Twitter user going by the name of Mucc shared these thoughts:

You reduced John Boyega’s character in TROS. You made Kelly Marie Tran’s character a side-character out of the fear of reactions from TLJ. Even when hated, George Lucas would never minimize a role of a character. Please reflect your words and your actions.

Related: In His Own Words: George Lucas FINALLY Shares Why He Sold ‘Star Wars’

Tom Reakes responded to Star Wars’ post with the caption, “This you?” alongside a photo of Boyega from a magazine interview where he claimed to be:

“… the only cast member whose experience of Star Wars was based on their race.”

YAV1N4 referenced the ongoing Gina Carano controversy in a post:

i hope john boyega, kelly marie tran, oscar isaac, etc are laughing about this in a group chat. and this is especially worthless when gina carano is still employed by you.

Carano, who plays New Republic Marshal Cara Dune in Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni’s The Mandalorian saga, has become known for her controversial Tweets regarding political and social issues. Social media users have been divided, with the hashtags #IStandWithGinaCarano, #WeLoveCaraDune, and #FireGinaCarano all trending at various points.

Other Mandalorian Cast Members, including Pedro Pascal (Din Djarin), Katee Sackhoff (Bo-Katan Kryze), and Ming-Na Wen (Fennec Shand), have supported the divisive actress.

Related: Jon Favreau Reportedly Stops Disney From Firing ‘Mandalorian’ Star Gina Carano

To see more of what is being said on Twitter, search “Star Wars” on the social media website.

Regardless of your feelings about Kelly Marie Tran, John Boyega, and even Gina Carano, this is a hot-button issue for Star Wars fans on social media. Original trilogy stars like Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) have not weighed in on today’s backlash, although both are incredibly active on social media.

Despite today’s controversy, the future is still bright if you’re a Star Wars fan, thanks mainly to a Mandalorian bounty hunter and his tiny foundling named Grogu. The Mandalorian has united Star Wars fans as much as the sequel trilogy divided them.

Migs Mayfeld Mandalorian
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: ‘The Mandalorian’ Season 3: Everything We Actually Know

Furthermore, from Hamill’s recent lightsaber-wielding cameo as a young Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian Season 2 finale to the promise of multiple new series — including, probably, the introduction of fan-favorite Grand Admiral Thrawn in live-action in Mandalorian spinoff Ahsoka — there is a great deal to look forward.

In addition to three Mandalorian spinoffs and seven other confirmed Disney+ shows, three new movies are set to release within the existing Star Wars canon over the next few years.

What are your thoughts on the backlash the Star Wars team is receiving for their MLK post?

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