After the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII trended last week, director J.J. Abrams announced the cancellation of the Star Wars franchise. “Effective immediately, the release of any new Star Wars content has been postponed indefinitely. This includes the upcoming film, as well as the video game Star Wars Battlefront.” While Abrams did not comment on the availability of old movies for purchase, Episodes I-VI were briefly taken down from Lucasfilm’s website before quickly going back on sale.
The #BoycottStarWarsVII hashtag arose after the release of the first trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. One of the clips revealed that John Boyega—a black actor—would be portraying a Stormtrooper. Internet activists complained that this was apparently alienating for the film’s white audience.
Abrams’ decision was immediately praised on the Internet. One user, @JangoFett69, lauded it as a victory for democracy and common sense. @sexybenkenobi called the director “a cinematic legend,” and said that “his ideas make up for his terrible Star Trek remake.”
However, many of the same activists that were originally protesting the decision quickly changed their tune. “No no no this is a disaster. This is NOT what we wanted. We still obviously want to see the movie, we just need to preserve the sanctity and logic of an all-white Outer Space!” When it was pointed out that Samuel L. Jackson had starred in previous films as Mace Windu, one #BSW7 user noted that “Oh… Ummmm. True. And Samuel L. Jackson was in Pulp Fiction!”
For what it’s worth, John Boyega himself took all the criticism in stride. “Obviously, I would have liked for my role in the film to have not elicited such a controversy. I also would have liked for this film to still be shown in theaters. But on the plus side — Nobody will get mad over the big reveal that my character is actually just two Ewoks standing on top each other’s shoulders.”