The “Firefly” ads in the “Star Wars” movies, from “The Phantom Menace” to “Return of the Jedi,” feature mostly white actors, but some of the most prominent are black and Latino.
For example, the scene where Rey (Daisy Ridley) is kidnapped from the Rebel base is a white woman and white male.
In one of the trailers for the film, Rey (Lupita Nyong’o) says she was in the Rebel fleet when the Death Star was destroyed.
“It’s a little bit of a surprise to see us in the Empire,” Nyong”o said.
This is what we do.
We’re all in the Rebellion, but we are white.”
Nyong’ou is one of many people who have spoken out against the “Fireflies” ads, and she said that she felt it was a violation of her First Amendment rights to not be in the movie, according to The New York Times.
The actor said that “being black in the world of ‘Star Wars’ is a lot more complicated than it is to see a white person in it,” and that she doesn’t feel the ad’s focus on the black characters was meant to be offensive.
“I do understand that the ‘Star War’ universe is more complex than white people in the whole world, but the movie doesn’t really try to be inclusive, it just wants to make a statement and get people excited,” Nyongso said in a statement to the Times.
“The movie is about the future, not the past.”
The movie also stars a white male protagonist named Luke Skywalker, a black character named Rey, a Latino character named Han Solo, a Japanese character named General Leia Organa and a Native American character named Anakin Skywalker.
Nyongso has been vocal about her concerns about the ads, saying she was angry when she saw them and felt “disgusted” when she didn’t see them again.
I feel disgusted.
I was so offended.
I feel like a racist.
I felt like an asshole to see it again and I felt violated by it, she told CNN.
“It’s not a coincidence that the movie is being criticized by Black Lives Matter protesters because we are the people in this world who are often the first to suffer,” Nyonso added.
“That’s what’s at stake.
We’ve been there.
We know what it’s like.
We have been there and we know what to do about it.”
While Nyongi is one actor who has voiced her concerns, she said the rest of the cast in the films “are all white and male.”
In a statement released Friday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said that the “Force Awakens” movie was produced by a team of people of all races and ethnicities and that it included a significant number of people who are members of the LGBT community, women and people of color.
“As an Academy member, I am deeply concerned about the impact of the ‘Force Awakens’ movie and the depiction of LGBTQ characters in it on Black people, and on all marginalized groups of people in our society,” the statement said.
“To that end, I strongly urge the Academy to immediately remove the ‘Fires’ and ‘Star Trek’ posters from their websites, and to take all steps necessary to ensure the continued inclusion of all marginalized voices in its productions.”
The statement also noted that there are a number of LGBTQ and Black actors in the film.
“This is a very important moment in our history, one that has the potential to make important changes for the better in our communities and for the future of this country,” Academy Chair Annika Braga said in the statement.
As for Nyongo, she expressed her concern on social media.
When people see the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ poster, they think of the future.
They think of women of color and the Black people in that poster.
But the future is not the present.
It is not just the past, it is not a dream, it’s a reality.
It’s not just an illusion.
It will always exist.
#TheFutureofStarWars,” she wrote on Instagram.
Black actors have also been vocal in expressing their concerns about “Star Trek,” saying that it is a continuation of the white-centric history of the franchise and a representation of racism.