The Chinese poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been deemed racist after it reduced the prominence of John Boyega, whose image on the American poster is much larger than it is on its Chinese equivalent.
Twitter user Alex Muniz was one of the first people to notice the altered poster, posting a comparison on to his page.
Chinese Star Wars poster minimizes black character’s prominence. pic.twitter.com/VBYjraJgCR
— Alex Muniz (@asmuniz) December 1, 2015
As you can clearly see, on the American version of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster, John Boyega’s Finn is placed on an even level with Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren. It’s believed that The Force Awakens will primarily be led by this trifecta of characters.
However, the Chinese poster reduces John Boyega down to the size of the droid BB-8. After being uploaded, several other Twitter users started to spread the poster and accused it of being racist.
— Yume Hasu (@YumeHasu) December 5, 2015
— Dan Zinski (@Dan_Zinski) December 4, 2015
Well, that’s rather unexpected. Why did Disney take out non-white characters from Chinese Star Wars: TFA poster? https://t.co/B37rrwxn0i
— Aulia Masna (@aulia) December 4, 2015
— Michael Berliner (@michaelberliner) December 4, 2015
— Trent McGee (@trentmcgee) December 4, 2015
It isn’t just John Boyega’s character who has been diminished on the Chinese poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That’s because Chewbacca, Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, and Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata have also been taken off it, which increased the calls of racism because of the fact that this made the white actors more prominent.
In fact, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, 31-year-old Chen Tao, who runs the Star Wars fan website StarWarsChina, admitted that he was more bothered by the diminished presence of Chewbacca rather than the fact that John Boyega wasn’t as large.
“He isn’t the lead role or the lead villain, so it is OK to me to shrink him a bit,” Chen Tao declared, before then declaring that the fact the Chinese poster had edited out Maz Kanata and Chewbacca was a more grievous error, declaring, “Both are important characters. We are really disappointed that they took out Chewbacca.”
Ding Yan, who also leads a Chinese fan group, echoed these thoughts, remarking, “The change that matters to me is not about the black actor, but more about taking out the image if Chewbacca.”
Speaking about the possibility of racial discrimination on the poster, Mr Ding remarked, “I don’t think that we really have a tradition of discriminating against black people. More often we look down upon people like folks from rural areas. If there is any discrimination in this poster, maybe it is more discrimination against Wookies. Maybe because they are too hairy?”
Meanwhile, speaking to the Global Times, via ECNS, Chen Qiuping, who is the head of the scriptwriter branch of the Beijing Film Association, defended the poster, explaining, “Since the poster is merely a promotion method and an individual case, it would be unfair to criticize Chinese audiences for discriminating against the black actor.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will finally be released in the United States on December 18, 2015, while it will follow in China on January 9, 2016.
[Image via Lucasfilm]