John Boyega has responded to criticism from Star Wars fans struggling to come to terms with the inclusion of a black stormtrooper in the forthcoming film.
The sight of the British actor in the new Star Wars: Episode VII trailer sparked an online backlash, with #blackstormtrooper trending on Twitter over the weekend as fans voiced their concerns about the casting decision.
But Boyega has calmly replied to the comments, posting a thank you note to fans on Instagram with the postscript “To whom it may concern…Get used to it. :)”
The majority of comments opposing Boyega’s race appear to have been posted on YouTube rather than Twitter, with the top comment currently reading: “The black stormtroopers is probally stealing his comrades speeder bikes and shoot his blaster n**guh-gangster style [sic].”
The #blackstormtrooper hashtag began with fans complaining about the casting decision, with one user writing: “I had a feeling the new Star Wars is going to be filled with PC, SJW [social justice warrior] trash”.
But the hashtag has since been taken over by people complaining about the initial outrage, and posting memes about the black stormtrooper.
Boyega’s character has also fuelled debate about whether the possibility of a black stormtrooper would be legitimate in the Star Wars sequel, set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi.
A black stormtrooper could exist because the army is based on clones that were not white, according to an article in The Atlantic.
Jango Fett, who served as a genetic template, was played by Temuera Derek Morrison, a New Zealand actor of partial Maori descent, the magazine argues.
Other fans have commented there is every possibility of having a black stormtrooper because the clones died out, forcing the empire to recruit anyone still willing to fight to defend it.
“The clones were disavowed when order 66 was given and the commanders of the clones gave up their power to the chancellor. The stormtroopers are just normal people. Multi-race, Multi-ethnicities,” YouTube commenter Ryan Barry wrote.