Rogue One is not about politics, Disney’s CEO has insisted. Bob Iger defended the new Star Wars movie following calls for a boycott by Donald Trump supporters. Iger defended Rogue One: A Star Wars Story amid claims of political bias, according to A.V. Club.
Some online supporters of President-elect Donald Trump complained that Disney was pandering to minorities with the new movie. They pointed to the racially diverse cast of rebel heroes and the all-white villains of the Galactic Empire. Supporters of the so-called “alt-right” criticized Disney for attacking whites.
“I think the whole story has been overblown and, quite frankly, it’s silly,” Iger said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “Frankly, this is a film that the world should enjoy. It is not a film that is, in any way, a political film. There are no political statements in it, at all.”
He continued, “I have seen the film a number of times, and only a few other people have gotten to see it. So, now we get to share it with the world. We know it’s great, and we can’t wait for other people to discover that.”
One of Rogue One’s writers caused outrage among online conservatives when he tweeted that the new movie did, in fact, have a political message. Chris Weitz sent a series of tweets criticizing Donald Trump, many of which have since been deleted.
“Please note that the Empire is a white supremacist (human) organization,” Weitz said.
Weitz’s tweets and comments about the new Star Wars movie prompted the hashtag #DumpStarWars. Many social media users, including self-declared supporters of Donald Trump, encouraged a boycott of Rogue One when it is released in theaters.
Rumors circulated that the movie’s producers were intentionally making Rogue One an anti-Trump movie. Some social media users suggested that extra scenes had been shot to make the movie more political. Claims of anti-white bias quickly appeared among Trump’s online supporters.
Although it is not certain if the proposed boycott would affect Rogue One’s box-office receipts, the #DumpStarWars hashtag has created bad publicity for Disney and the Star Wars franchise. Disney’s first Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, was widely considered a success and a distinct improvement on the three prequel movies.
Star Wars fans were not so sure about Bob Iger’s dismissal of Rogue One’s political message. Fans of the franchise have often seen the Galactic Empire as an allegory for an oppressive government and an organization that discriminates against non-humans.
“The Nazis are basically the same costume as we used in the first film and they are designed to be very authoritarian, very empire-like,” Star Wars creator George Lucas said of the original 1977 movie, according to Uproxx.
The costume designer on the original movie also said the Empire’s uniforms were designed to look “efficient, totalitarian, fascist.”
Promotion for Rogue One has been relatively low-key compared to Disney’s first movie after purchasing the franchise. Rogue One is the first spinoff movie featuring minor characters who were not the main focus in the first three Star Wars movies. Further movies are planned in the series, with spinoffs based on original characters in the works.
Disney has stressed that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is not political and is just a form of entertainment, but this is unlikely to prevent critics from boycotting the movie now that it has premiered. Donald Trump’s online supporters who have called the film anti-Trump may not protest in person, and it is not clear if their boycott will affect Rogue One’s success.
Rogue One writer Chris Weitz has given online critics reason to suspect the movie is biased against Trump and presents a racially diverse cast in order to attack the white population. But Disney’s CEO has assured fans that Rogue One is just another movie without any political message.
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