J. J. Abrams Defends Casting John Boyega As ‘Black Storm Trooper’ In ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

J. J. Abrams is fed up with people criticizing him for casting John Boyega as one of the lead characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. John Boyega will play Finn, a stormtrooper who reportedly defects early on in the film. His casting, which was revealed when the first trailer aired, was met by a wave of intense criticism which focused on Boyega’s race.

“All I know is John Boyega does an extraordinary job in the movie,” Abrams said on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show on Monday. “I think the people who are complaining about that probably have bigger problems than ‘there’s a black stormtrooper.'”

This isn’t the first time that Abrams has addressed the racist reaction to Boyega’s casting. He also made a joke about it during a skit on Saturday Night Live, US Weekly reports.

Boyega has also addressed the racist backlash in interviews.

“I’m in the movie, what are you going to do about it? You either enjoy it or you don’t,” he said in an interview with V Magazine. “I’m not saying get used to the future, but what is already happening. People of color and women are increasingly being shown on-screen. For things to be whitewashed just doesn’t make sense.”

Beyond discussions of race, Abrams has also recently dropped some hints on what Star Wars fans can expect in the new film when it’s released on December 18.

During the interview with Howard Stern, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens director was asked why the promotional material for the film has thus far excluded Luke Skywalker, Time Magazine reports. His answer was intriguing.

“I really want to make sure that we’re not ruining the movie for people,” he said. “I hate when I see a trailer and I feel like I’ve seen the whole movie in an encapsulated form.”

So, it’s safe to say that Luke Sywalker is going to play a big part in the new Star Wars film. The question that a lot of people have is, will he be the movie’s villain?

Mark Hamill, the actor who has played Luke Skywalker since the inception of the franchise, has confirmed that he will appear in the new Star Wars film and that his role is significant.

“Obviously you’re seeing him in a very different time in his life, there are lots of surprises in this movie. You’re going to love it,” Hamill said in an interview with Empire Magazine (found via Slashfilm.com)

Hamill even said that shooting Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Ireland reminded him a lot of shooting the earlier Star Wars films.

“It reminded me of when I was in Tunisia on the salt flats,” Hamill said. “If you could get into your own mind and shut out the crew and look at the horizon, you really felt like you were in a galaxy far, far away. I had that same wave of emotion happen to me when I was on Skellig Michael in Ireland. I wasn’t anticipating it.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh film in the Star Wars franchise. It picks up thirty years after Han Solo defeated the Galactic Empire. It follows Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his team of allies as they confront evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and his army of Stormtroopers.

Harrison Ford Star Wars The force Awakens
Harrison Ford has seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens and he says: "It's great." Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

“It’s a wonderful movie,” Harrison Ford said during an interview on Good Morning America. “It’s got great production values. It’s a real big movie and I was delighted to see it.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on December 18.

[Photo via Lucasfilm]