Copyright and Photo Credit: David James.
Last Tuesday morning, the Star Wars team announced the cast for Episode VII. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker will once again take us to a galaxy far, far away, joined by John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. Nerds and news outlets met the news with excitement (John Boyega!), amazement (Max von Sydow!), confusion (Adam Driver?), and a healthy dose of pushback for the dearth of women and people of color. Two female actors have been cast, including a returning Princess Leia, and two people of color have been cast, one of whom (Oscar Isaac) often plays or passes as white (Llewyn Davis in Inside Llewyn Davis, Prince John in Robin Hood, Orestes in Agora). Even if they add the rumored “major female role, which will likely be filled by an actress of mixed race,” the weight of the cast will still be heavily white and male.
This is a problem; I wish to be clear about that because many men disagree. Trawling the comments of any of the articles critiquing the race and gender disparity, you’ll find many voices in support of the critiques and many voices declaring it a nonissue, the latter often from white men. The chorus to their silencing tactics and eye-rolling is:
“What’s it matter?”
“Why is this even a thing?”