(CNN) — Actor John Boyega has four words for anyone who’s upset he’s playing what appears to be a black Stormtrooper in the latest “Star Wars” film: “Get used to it.”
The 22-year-old British actor posted the message on Instagram yesterday after his appearance in the new trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” aroused feverish discussion on social media. On YouTube, some questioned whether a black Stormtrooper made sense, while others reacted with racist remarks.
Supporters responded on Twitter with the hashtag #BlackStormtrooper.
“They’ll accept an alien-filled galaxy powered by ‘force’ but they’re not having a black man in uniform?” tweeted writer Iain Macintosh.
“Love how there’s “controversy” over a #BlackStormtrooper. Even in a galaxy far far away black people exist and can be dynamic characters too,” tweeted Joseph Oteng.
“#BlackStormTrooper better not die first, or I am going to be pissed,” quipped USC professor Robert Hernandez.
Race in the ‘Star Wars’ universe
Despite the diversity of human and nonhuman characters mingling together in the fictional Star Wars universe, there have been just a handful of prominent black characters. Samuel L. Jackson played Jedi Master Mace Windu in three films, while Billy Dee Williams played Cloud City administrator turned Rebel General Lando Calrissian in two films.
James Earl Jones also provided the legendary voice for Darth Vader, but the actor under the mask was white.
In the “Star Wars” series Stormtroopers were originally clones of Jango Fett, an ethnic “Mandalorian” played by New Zealand-born actor Temuera Derek Morrison, of partial Maori descent. Later in the storyline, when Boyega’s “black Stormtrooper” character would’ve lived, Stormtroopers were recruited from general populations — making a Stormtrooper of any race certainly feasible.
As fans continue to dissect the trailer, many have also pointed out Boyega may not even be a Stormtrooper — he could be a rebel in a Stormtrooper uniform, like Hans Solo and Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” Fans will have to wait a bit longer to find out more about Boyega’s character.
The movie, the seventh in the Star Wars film series, is scheduled for release on December 18, 2015.
Boyega’s message also contained a note of gratitude to his fans.
“Isn’t it crazy that Star Wars is actually happening? I’m in the movie but as a Star Wars fan I am very excited.
“A year is long time to wait but it will be worth the wait.”