When the new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released Friday, it seemed like the excitement over the film was quickly tarnished by online complaints of a Black Stormtrooper that was featured in the trailer.
YouTube comments under the trailer insisted that a Black Stormtrooper wasn’t realistic while others posted racist remarks.
It was an unfortunate reaction to the Black 22-year-old British actor who played the Stormtrooper, but he quickly took to Instagram to address the controversy over his casting – and the response couldn’t have been better.
John Boyega, the actor who is playing the Black stormtrooper, posted a message on Instagram that explained how excited he was about the movie while also addressing those who just couldn’t get comfortable with the idea of a Black Stormtrooper.
“Thank you for all the love and support,” Boyega wrote on an Instagram post. “The fan mail and fan art has added to my joy! 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 a long time but it will be worth the wait.”
Then at the bottom of the post was a much simpler message.
“To whom it may concern… Get used to it,” the actor wrote.
He even finished the post off with a smiley face for good measure.
Despite the hateful YouTube comments, other social media platforms were filled with users who were defending the decision to cast a Black Stormtrooper.
“Love how there’s ‘controversy’ over a #BlackStormtrooper,” one user tweeted. “Even in a galaxy far far away black people exist and can be dynamic characters too.”
Another user, Marc Watson, explained that the first Stormtroopers were actually of Maori descent.
Others took a more comical approach to the backlash.
“They’ll accept an alien-filled galaxy powered by ‘force’ but they’re not having a black man in uniform,” writer Iain Macintosh tweeted.
“Three movies in a row with James Earl Jones’ voice only to reveal Darth Vader was white all along and you’re mad at one Black stormtrooper,” another user quipped.
One self-proclaimed Star Trek fan even pointed out that this actually isn’t the first appearance of a Black Stromtrooper in the Star Wars franchise.
The user posted a screenshot from the animated “Star Wars Rebels” TV series, which revealed a young Black man holding a Stormtrooper helmet.
“A #BlackStormtrooper is not unprecedented,” the user wrote under the image.
Throughout the weekend fans continued to post more images and send out more tweets to explain why the backlash against the character just didn’t make sense.
It isn’t the first time that fans have had to defend a popular franchise for casting Black actors for roles that were previously taken on by white actors.
Idris Elba was the target of criticism when he was cast to play Heimdall in Thor: The Dark World back in 2013.
Michael B. Jordan also had to deal with critics after he was cast to play Johnny Storm, known as the Human Torch, in the Fantastic Four reboot, which is scheduled to hit big screens in August of 2015.
This pattern of Black actors stepping in to fill roles that were previously white is yet another reason critics of the Black Stormtrooper may certainly have to “get used to it.”
The lack of diversity in Hollywood has become a hot topic and has encouraged many of today’s most influential filmmakers to start looking for ways to incorporate more people of color in their movies.