The Worst Part of the Internet Would Have You Boycott Star Wars

By  · Published on October 19th, 2015


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far way, a group of people started a movement aimed at toppling a media superpower. And it wasn’t long before the movement gained momentum. Individually, these people were but points of light in a dark sky: the man who sold you your cup of coffee, the stranger in the elevator, the person in the car behind you on the highway. But together, they speak in one voice, unified in their desire to tell you the truth: that they will never stand for a black man as the hero in a Star Wars movie. Or wait, no, it was that they don’t like Jewish directors. Or maybe there were too many women in the new Star Wars movie? Yeah, probably that last one.

If you’ve logged into Twitter at any point this afternoon, you’ve liked seen the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII pop into your timeline. For some of us, it’s probably only been in the positive sense: people refuting claims that Star Wars should only belong to Caucasian male actors or pointing out the disjointed hatred on display by those who have latched onto the hashtag to push their anti-(whatever) agenda. But let a few cartoon avatars slip through and you’re suddenly down a rabbit hole of racism and misogyny that is matched in its ferocity only by its lack of focus. New Star Wars content has been coopted as the cause du jour by anyone who wants there to be less diversity in film. If you spend your life in fear of Star Wars rumors and Twitter eggs, today is a dark, dark day indeed.

Here are some examples of the conversation happening on Twitter, mostly from the reasonable people reeling as they try to wrap their minds around this:

Wait, this #BoycottStarWarsVII thing is real and y’all are upset because a black guy and a woman are the lead characters?

— Gucci Wolfmane (@BernardHayman) October 19, 2015

Do not, I repeat, do not read the #BoycottStarWarsVII. The racism and ignorance is equal parts terrifying and pathetic. – Lyndsay Kirkham (@Lyndsay_Kirkham) October 19, 2015

This is sad:

#BoycottStarWarsVII because white children deserve wholesome movies, not more PC anti-white diversity crap.

— End Cultural Marxism (@genophilia) October 19, 2015

But there’s a positive in all of this: the fact that people can’t agree on the cause of their anger is evidence of how far this new Star Wars film has come from its predecessors. People can latch onto Star Wars as an outlet for their angry at people of color or women because they make up the core of the new Star Wars film; the fact that people are mad about all the wrong things is proof positive of the things that Star Wars — at least so far – seems to be doing right. Even people who hate the culture surrounding Star Wars have to admit the boundless enthusiasm of actors like John Boyega and Gwendoline Christie has been a lot of fun to watch.

Will the new film be any good? Maybe! Who knows? But I do feel reasonably sure saying that any criticism levied at the movie will not be due to lack of effort from John Boyega, Lupita Nyong’o, Daisy Ridley, or Gwendoline Christie. Maybe someday we’ll learn that it might not be the people who were in the original Star Wars trilogy that care about the franchise the most.

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Matthew Monagle is an Austin-based film and culture critic. His work has appeared in a true hodgepodge of regional and national film publications. He is also the editor and co-founder of Certified Forgotten, an independent horror publication. Follow him on Twitter at @labsplice. (He/Him)