George Lucas Gives Strong Criticism Against Star Wars Being All White Men

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

george lucas

During a candid conversation at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, George Lucas addressed longstanding criticism of the lack of diversity in the first six Star Wars films. Lucas, who is set to receive the festival’s honorary Palme d’Or, reflected on these critiques and offered his perspective on the franchise’s representation, making it clear he disagrees with those who feel his original movies are whitewashed.

What Lucas Had To Say

“They would say, ‘It’s all white men,’” George Lucas recounted, disagreeing vehemently. “Most of the people are aliens! The idea is you’re supposed to accept people for what they are, whether they’re big and furry or whether they’re green or whatever. The idea is all people are equal.” 

George Lucas emphasized that the Star Wars universe was designed to celebrate diversity in its myriad forms, particularly through its array of non-human characters. 


star wars droids

Addressing the portrayal of discrimination within the Star Wars universe, George Lucas pointed out that the films intentionally focused on the marginalization of robots. Using the current mistrust surrounding AI as an example, Lucas explained his belief that humans will always find something to discriminate against, whether it’s human, alien, or computer.

The Main Characters Are All White

Samuel L Jackson

But it still doesn’t explain why the majority of the Star Wars cast is made up of white people. Tackling this topic, George Lucas claims this really isn’t the case.

“In the first one, there were a few Tunisians who were dark, and in the second one I had Billy Dee Williams, and the [prequels], which they were also criticizing, I had Sam Jackson. He wasn’t a scoundrel like Lando. He was one of the top Jedi.” 

While it’s clear George Lucas meant for his statement to defend the casting of the original Star Wars films, having a few people of color portray minor characters and two Black actors take on supporting roles hardly matches today’s inclusion standards.

When it comes down to it, all the main human characters—Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Anakin, Obi-Wan, Padme Amidala, and Qui-Gon Jinn—were all portrayed by white actors.

Women In Star Wars

When it came to the depiction of women in Star Wars, George Lucas also had a defense. While the director has been criticized for having mainly male protagonists, Lucas believes it’s the women in his stories who are truly the heroes.

“What do you think Princess Leia was? She’s the head of the rebellion,” Lucas said, explaining how it’s Leia’s leadership that guides Luke and bridles Han Solo in order to win the war. 

George Lucas argued that his female characters were strong and intelligent leaders, not defined by their attire but by their strategic minds and leadership qualities. Just like Leia, Lucas sees Queen Amidala as a strong hero, despite the fact that her character wears pretty dresses.

The Award

george lucas

George Lucas’s remarks come as he prepares to receive the honorary Palme d’Or at Cannes, a prestigious award celebrating his monumental contributions to cinema. “I am truly honored by this special recognition which means a great deal to me,” the director said.

George Lucas isn’t the only famous face appearing at the festival this year. This year’s Cannes Film Festival has seen the return of several renowned auteurs, including Francis Ford Coppola with his sci-fi drama Megalopolis and Paul Schrader with his Vietnam drama Oh, Canada.

Source: Variety

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