Star Wars has been around for over four decades and is one of the longest-running franchises in movie history. Over the course of its run fans have been reintroduced to the same characters but with new faces over and over again. Yet its sense of inclusion has been a slow development. While the film has had some notable black Star Wars actors most of the Star Wars movies show a white-faced universe.
And when John Boyega was cast in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII was trending because trolls (whyteppl) were angry, claiming the film was promoting “white genocide”.
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Nonetheless, the film that has been loved by millions does include, sparsely, black actors that we should know. Some are well known *cough* Billy Dee Williams *cough,* while other actors are hated just because they are black — see above for reference. Since today is May 4th, the official holiday of Star Wars, let’s celebrate all the black Star Wars actors and voices.
Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon in The Mandolorian
Gin Clarke played Jedi Master Adi Gallo in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Australian-American actor Christopher Kirby played Senator Giddean Danu in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
Billy Dee Williams was the first Black actor with a major role in the Star Wars series. He played Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). He also voiced various Star Wars video games and reprised his role over three decades later in 2019’s Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker (2019).
Hannah John-Kamen as First Order Officer in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Aki Omoshaybi starred as Resistance bridge officer Guila Angira in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
Clarence Smith plays Arven Wendik a Naboo fighter pilot in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
Femi Taylor played Oola, Jabba’s green slave girl, in 1987’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Danny Sapini played a medical frigate captain in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
James Earl Jones voiced Darth Vader in 1977’s Star Wars and 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, although he was originally uncredited. He also voiced Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. He has voiced characters in TV versions of the franchise as well.
Elroy Powell appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as bar patron Rosse Weno.
Geff Francis as Admiral Griss in the 2019 Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker.
Sasha Frost as Jakku Villager in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Childish Gambino starred as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story
Tam Ryvora from Star Wars: Resistance. The character was animated but she was black and voiced by Suzie McGrath, who is also black.
Samuel L. Jackson played the only black male Jedi in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Michaela Coal as Resistance Monitor Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Kevin Layne plays Finch Dallow, a Resistance Bomber Pilot in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Thandie Newton plays the mercenary Val in Solo: A Star Wars Story
Tosin Cole played X-Wing pilot Bastian in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Sharon Duncan-Brewster was cast as Senator Tynnra Pamlo in Solo: A Star Wars Story
Naomi Ackie played the former Stormtrooper known as TZ-1719 in Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.
Hugh Quarshie plays Naboo Royal security forces Captain Quarsh Panaka in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
John Boyega played Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.