Disney has been making more of a direct push to ensure themes around gender and diversity are being handled properly within their productions. It’s definitely been part of their core set of goals in how they develop new movies and series on Disney+. But one of those productions is facing backlash right now with claims that a new Star Wars show is possibly racist, engaging in the whitewashing of its characters. This was brought to attention by the site Project Stardust and has been spread throughout the Star Wars franchise galaxy with others now taking notice.
The issue of whitewashing and racism in Star Wars has to do with the new show The Bad Batch. It’s an animated series that just released this week on Disney+. According to Project Stardust and others, there appears to be a clear issue at hand with how the characters were created, developed, voiced, and portrayed. The term whitewashing can mean a number of different things in the media but in this case, is referencing a few key things that have happened with this new show. For starters, there are claims that the characters in the program were given noticeably whiter skin for characters of color. And they look different in appearance than their original portrayal in Clone Wars.
Another claim about Stars Wars: The Bad Batch is that they are choosing to use white actors to voice characters of color. This practice, according to those who’ve brought the issue to light is akin to hiring white actors to play roles of people of different ethnicity. It’s a practice that doesn’t honor the characters they are voicing.
Additionally, the breakdown of whitewashing among the characters in this new Star Wars show has to do with how they are portrayed on screen with certain personality traits given to those depending on the overall complexion. Characters with darker skin were made to be more aggressive than those with lighter skin. And allegedly the group, which is an offshoot of clones, treats other clones in a decidedly racist way.
To go with these claims, the hashtag #unwhitewashtbb has been making its rounds on Twitter with artists “correcting” some of the characters to bring them more in line with how they should appear on the screen. In other cases, they are just calling out the bad practice and how characters have changed over the years to appear whitewashed.
The claim here is that when the studio created Star Wars: The Bad Batch they obviously took existing characters from The Clone Wars and gave them their own series. But in doing so, changed the complexion of them along the way to make the appearance whiter. This, again, is at the heart of these racist claims for the new Star Wars show.
The Bad Batch debuted this past week on Disney+ and is just another in the line of new Star Wars programs premiering with this new push for the franchise. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive from critics. But considering Disney’s recent focus on diversity in their programming and hiring, it stands to reason they would take these allegations very seriously. There could be a change in order if the company feels like the original show erred in its original depiction of the characters.