Dale Pollock did future film historians a great service when he got George Lucas to admit in the book
Skywalking: The Life And Films of George Lucas that the casting of Billy Dee Williams in Empire Strikes Back was nothing more than assuring critics he wasn't a racist:
The most sensitive part to cast in Empire was Lando. Still smarting from criticism that Star Wars was racist, George conceived of Lando as “a suave, dashing black man in his thirties” and specified in his script that half of the Cloud City residents and troops were to be black (in the actual film, only a few blacks are visible). Lucas sought Billy Dee Williams for the role from the outset, after seeing him in Lady Sings the Blues.Williams was reluctant to play what he thought was a token black, but soon realized that Lando could be portrayed by a black or white actor. “The part requires a universal, international quality, which I have," Williams says. "Lando is an alternative to the usual WASP hero.” [p. 213]Of course, J.J. Abrams - with Star Wars: The Force Awakens - has cast a black actor in a prominent role as basically signaling to Social Justice Warriors that he knows we live in 2015: meaning, it's time to officially retire the WASP hero.
Or "FORCE" them to understand the days of the WASP hero are over. [How Daisy Ridley & John Boyega are changing Star Wars – and our world: Plus: Boyega has a blunt message for 'idiots' fueled by bigotry., Entertainment Weekly, 11-13-15]:
As a lifelong Star Wars fan himself, Boyega says the benefit of diverse casting is that kids will pretend to be the characters they love whether those individuals have skin that’s white, brown, green, or covered in fur. That’s what he did.
The bigots trying to sully things? He has no time for them. “We’ve been having a continuous struggle with idiots, and now we should just force them to understand – and I love the way I just used Force there, by the way – just force people to see this is the new world,” he says. “There are loads of people of different shades and backgrounds. Get used to it.”"... force people to see this is the new world."
Well, in the new world of Disney's Star Wars, they not only "FORCE" non-white protagonists on the movie-goer, but they kill off Han Solo.
Even George Lucas wouldn't have been dumb enough to do that! On p. 159 of Skywalking: The Life And Films of George Lucas, we actually learn he considered Glynn Turman, a black guy, as Han Solo in Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV). Thankfully, he backed off, because:
"I didn't want to make Guess Who's Coming to Dinner at that point, so I sort of backed off."From what's trickling out about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams and Disney are "FORCING" exactly the type of interracial relationship Lucas knew would doom his movie before the marketing juggernaut was even launched...
What's funny is all the fans of Star Wars really want to see is the nostalgia of watching Han Solo and Luke Skywalker return to the screen to carry on their adventures after Return of the Jedi, two WASP heroes living it up a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
Instead, we get Guess Who's Coming to Dinner in space...