Above are two official posters for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. One is the U.S. poster and the other is China’s version.
There are several small differences.
And one rather big one.
Fans are in an uproar because new franchise star John Boyega, very prominently featured in all the marketing for the film, is all but gone from the China poster. Boyega’s character Finn has been shrunk so significantly that’s he’s very easy to miss in the alternate version. As a result, fans have accused Disney’s China office of wanting to downplay an actor of color in the film.
Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata (a digital character), Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, and Chewbacca were cut from the poster too; the artwork also gave the army of stormtroopers at the bottom of the poster a much greater presence.
This wouldn’t be the first time an overseas version of a marketing campaign was whitewashed. The Italian marketing campaign for 12 Years a Slave choose to emphasize secondary characters played by Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender over the film’s star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, in 2013.
The Force Awakens change went viral after one fan pointed it out yesterday:
Soon after, fans on Twitter provided a forceful response:
Earlier this year, a racist boycott campaign against Star Wars was launched because of Boyega’s casting as a lead character.
“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,” Boyega said to EW of the campaign. “There are loads of people of different shades and backgrounds. Get used to it.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out on Dec. 18, and will arrive in China theaters on Jan. 9.