A handful of racist Star Wars fans reacted... unfavorably... after seeing Attack the Block star John Boyega in a Stormtrooper outfit in last week's Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser. Black people can't be part of the Imperial army, they say, which is dumb for a variety of reasons. But fans should also remember that Scrubs star Donald Faison, another black actor, has been playing Stormtroopers since 2008. This is nothing new, and we should stop acting surprised.
Faison happens to be a huge nerd, and also happens to love Star Wars, so it's only natural he turned his fandom into entertainment. He first appeared as Gary the Stormtrooper, an enlisted man and put-upon father, way back in Robot Chicken's second Star Wars special in 2008. Later, he did his own all-LEGO online short series, BlackStormTrooper. If you've never seen it, you should watch it right now:
Now, there are a number of things we don't know going into The Force Awakens. First, we don't know how Disney's new canon will treat the Jango Fett template Stormtroopers and if the remnant of the Empire allows for enlisted humans. We also don't know if, as rumored, Boyega will actually play a Stormtrooper before becoming a Jedi. But, given how huge the franchise is — and how historically lacking it's been in the diversity department — it's worth a reminder that everyone loves these movies. If nothing else, Donald Faison's work proves that this is what Star Wars fandom looks like. Why shouldn't the movies reflect that?
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