Published on April 17th, 2019 | by gareth3
Why The Outrage Over The Lack Of A Minority Lead In Jedi: Fallen Order May Be Misplaced
Earlier today a staff member brought to my attention the number of Social Media posts and articles complaining about the decision not to use any character of diversity as the lead in the upcoming game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
I thought about this issue and found the complaint interesting seeing how the Star Wars franchise has always been progressive in terms of casting.
If you look at the original series, there was Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher in a time when we did not have many strong female characters nor Minority actors whose characters were on equal terms with the leads.
The Prequel Trilogy brought us another strong female in Padme, minority actors with Captain Typho, Captain Panaka, Mace Windu, Temuera Morrison, Daniel Logan, and of course Ahmed Best who was the actor behind the CGI Jar Jar Binks.
The new films have given us another strong female in Rey as well as minority leads such as Finn, Poe, Rose, and even had Benicio Del Toro to the mix and the return of the strong female with Carrie Fisher. There was also the matter of Lupita Nyong’o.
This has continued with the stand alone films from Donald Glover to most of the cast of “Rogue One”.
There is also the fact to consider that the lead of the upcoming The Mandalorian as well as several members of the cast are Ethnic Minorities as is the series lead.
Needless to say it has always had a strong sense of diversity in the film casting and also for many elements of the animated series.
When it comes to games; players usually play as characters from the films or in the case of Dark Forces; new characters created for the game. I do get what the criticism is as Kyle Katarn and Starkiller where both White males but let us not forget that Iden Versio who was the lead in EA Star Wars Battlefront 2 was portrayed by a Minority as well.
One way to look at it was that when the film was made in the 70s and early 80s; filming in England, Norway, and various locales forced the crew to use many of the locals as background players and as such the film had an abundance of white characters.
While they did film in Tunisia and other locales, many of the local talents used were in costumes or prosthetics which hampered showing more diversity.
As for the case of Jedi: Fallen Order; this is a really interesting debate to me. In the trailer we do see a human character who is clearly an Ethnic Minority but the majority of the debate seems to center around the selection of a white male lead versus a minority.
It in a very interesting debate and it will be interesting to see how the rest of the cast rounds out as currently only Debra Wilson is the only announced female and minority in the cast but only three parts have been revealed and one of them is a Droid.
As my staff member posted earlier today on Social Media in response to this debate “Look, I get it. Diversity is a huge thing these days. But the Star Wars has come leaps and bounds ahead of others with its casting diversity in the Sequel Trilogy and, love it or date it, the Star Wars Battlefront II campaign is trend-bucking also. Not to mention the last white male protagonist introduced in a visual Star Wars story was in 2008.
Does this mean now that we can never have a white male protagonist in anything? Plus, these people complaining do not know the story, or have even played the game. Maybe there is a reason he is who he is”.
While Star Wars has shown a long history of diversity; I do think there is some validity to the argument that there needs to be more diversity in the gaming side of the Star Wars Universe. For now; I will wait until we see the final game and see how much diversity there is in the final build of the game.