John Boyega is unhappy with Disney, and rightly so.
He was supposed to have a major role in the Star Wars prequels, but despite a promising introduction, his primary purpose was to serve as a background decoration to Daisy Ridley’s Mary Sue character.
This effectively reduced him to the most insulting role a minority actor can have – that of offering token diversity, essentially checking the SJW box while other actors get all the good lines.
One of Boyega’s most telling complaints is that modern directors mostly expect black characters to “sweat and be scared.” This is true, and its partly because the SJW mindset sees everyone other than white men as essentially helpless and oppressed.
Even when the story takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away packed with non-human races, these tropes get trotted out. It is above all, a failure of imagination.
Of course, the most damning thing one can do the Disney movies is compare them to the originals, so let’s twist the knife a little and show that even a relatively minor character could have a dynamic storyline while remaining essential to the plot. I speak of course of Lando Calrissian.
The Most Interesting Man in the Galaxy
Billy Dee Williams is perhaps the antithesis of someone sweating or scared. The man is the personification of coolness. Even fighting for his life on a desert planet above the Sarlacc, you don’t see a bead of perspiration on him.
With only a few minutes of screen time in Empire Strikes Back, Williams gives us a glimpse of what we are certain is an immense and interesting back story. We learn that he’s the original owner of the famed Millennium Falcon, a gambler and shady dealer who has decided to go legit and come up with a lucrative and luxurious gig. His charisma is also formidable.
His betrayal of Han at first seems heartless, but we soon learn that he is under considerable duress, desperately trying to work some sort of deal that will protect the others. When his efforts are thwarted, he swiftly moves to return the favor and launch a perfectly-executed double-cross.
The film ends with him joining the effort to recover Han. Rarely has a character been so well drawn in so little time.
Yet we’re not done with him. As Return of the Jedi begins, we see that he has somehow infiltrated Jabba the Hutt’s palace, even to the point of becoming one of his guards. When Luke puts his plan into execution, he plays a crucial role in freeing Han and Chewbacca, and then pilots their escape craft to safety.
His redemption arc concludes with him volunteering to lead the dangerous Rebel fighter attack on the second Death Star, and he attributes this to his leadership in a prior battle, showing us that there is even more to his fascinating life story. He then demonstrates his superior leadership – first in stiffening the resolve of the Rebel command in maintaining their attack, and then giving them tactical advice to protect them from the bombardment of the Death Star.
Finally, it is Lando – not Luke, Han or Leia – who delivers the death blow to the Death Star. That’s a pretty major part for a minor character.
In short, Williams’ character – and his inimitable style – make for one of the most intriguing characters in the entire Star Wars universe.
The “Breakthrough Role” Excuse
I’ve written several articles about the current generation’s bizarre belief that the 1990’s were time of segregated lunch counters and women being denied the vote. In truth, these battles were won long before the current SJWs were even born. Women have had immense power in Hollywood for more than a century, and Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley is ten times more complex and interesting than Jedi Mary Sue.
Black Americans have also achieved greatness on the screen, and did so facing challenges far more daunting than anything we have today. Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar in 1939, back when Jim Crow laws were still in effect. To claim that nothing has changed is to insult and – to use an SJW phrase – unpersons true pioneers.
Just as awful is the way SJWs try to use their so-called diversity to deflect what is simply awful art. Anyone who rightly points out that these films are garbage is now a sexist/racist/Nazi trying to stop our courageous and brave actors from a life of self-fulfillment. If you don’t hand over your money and give five stars, you are the problem, not the dreck that’s been slapped together so sloppily even the actors know its garbage.
Back when racism and sexism were far more pervasive – and enforced with water cannon and attack dogs, not just mean comments on Facebook – there were no such excuses offered. People flocked to watch movies like In the Heat of the Night because they were great films, not because they were checking a diversity box.
Billy Dee William’s Lando Calrissian is likewise awesome – not because he’s black, but because he’s cool. No one has to tell you to like him, because you already do.
It speaks volumes that Disney went to the trouble of re-uniting the original cast of Star Wars (including Williams!) – and the most iconic image of it had to be photoshopped because no one there had the brains to put them all in the same scene at the same time.