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Asian Men Deliberately Excluded from Star Wars?
(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 04:55:54 PM)

ow that the fifth installment of the Star Wars saga has hit theatres, it's official: Asian men have no place in George Lucas's vision of the future. An Asian female Jedi was glimpsed in the most recent installment, but not one single Asian male has been spotted in any of the five movies.
     The absence is all the more remarkable given that Star Wars borrows its themes and fight scenes so obviously from samurai and kung-fu flicks. On a purely demographic level, it's difficult to imagine a distant future in which Asians will not be the preponderance of humanity. Even on a mundane economic level, Asians account for at least a third of today's global box office and video revenues.
     The utter absence of Asian men in the latest installment is even more glaring in light of the promises Lucas made in response to Asian protests over the omission of Asian actors coupled with suspicious attachment of Asian cultural traits to unsavory alien grotesqueries in The Phantom Menace. Lucas had even hinted that images of Bruce Lee would be used in the installment now known as The Clone Wars.
     In The Phantom Menace Lucas used Asian martial artists both to choreograph and perform the kendo-inspired light-saber sequences. But as if wishing to take back the decision, in The Clone Wars Lucas's PR machine made a point of showing that the fight sequences were choreographed by a white man and performed by the actors themselves. That explains why they were so leaden and lackluster, but raises the question why?
     Could it be that George Lucas wants to avoid calling attention to his large debt to Asian action films?
     Is Lucas afraid that including an Asian man will invite critical focus on the new movie's sub-par swordfight sequences?
     Is Lucus slyly inviting viewers to see wizened little Master Yoda as a winking representation of Asian men?
     Despite his avowed interest in Chinese and Japanese martial arts, culture, literature and films, is Lucas a closet racist after all?

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WHAT YOU SAY

[This page is closed to new input. --Ed.]
Scarlet Carbuncle said

"You make no mention of the necessity of a paean to Kurosawa. You fail to mention that several major animators and design folk for Lucas are asian american and, yes, male"

I think this is the whole sad truth of the situation. Lucas is influenced by asian films. His design staff has many asians. He works in a town that has many asians. Yet he doesn't appreciate it. He doesn't cast any in his movies. It makes you wonder if he is intentionally excluding asians. Personally I think Lucas added alot more minorities in episode2. I have a feeling that we will be seeing asians in the next installment.

Its just sad that an industry that is heavily influenced by a minority (jewish), that has a history of being persecuted, is dishing out so much racist garbage. Marlen Brando made the same point on that very mis-quoted and infamous larry king live interview.

I aint anti-jewish, but sometimes you just wonder, what gives?
bardarse
   Friday, December 27, 2002 at 05:33:23 (PST)    [64.203.7.5]
I think your article is exactly right on. It is very legitimate to criticize Lucas for not including Asians in his film creation which was inspired so much by Akira Kurosawa's films. However, I also believe we shouldn't criticize American filmmakers when they DO include Asians, but not in the exact way we would like us portrayed. For instance in Return of the Jedi, an Asian fighter pilot crashed into a larger spaceship. Some Asians took offence to the similarity of a "kamikaze" pilot, but not me; I thought it was funny.
d12
   Tuesday, December 17, 2002 at 04:11:28 (PST)    [198.81.26.108]
Sadly, if Lucas is ever to put any Asian male in SW, it would either be the token Asian good mysterious martial artist type guy or the bad mysterious martial artist type guy (wow, I guess that's all Hollywood thinks of us) and both of them will speak with an accent.
It's like black representation in the media (getting better though), there's no normal non-whites in the US media (not all of them). And of course, other than that, Asian Americans are also, in my opinion, one of the most PC groups in US. They'll lash out on most representation of Asian Americans.
Other than that...why is it until now animation in Japan still uses mostly Caucasian features in their characters. When's the last time you ever see a normal representation of a normal Asian character in animation (American or Japanese animation-wise)? There are some but rare.
Arde
   Saturday, December 14, 2002 at 00:34:24 (PST)    [24.26.255.128]
To Chicagoan,

My all-time favorite basketball movie was "Hoosiers" and, I seem to recall very few blacks in that movie - the only blacks were the ones from the inner-city school the heroes played in the championship game.

Anyway, with regard to Lucas and his lack of Asian actors, there are also virtually no black or Latino actors in the Star Wars saga either.

There was the black pilot of the X-Wing in Star Wars who was glimpsed a split-second before his craft was exploded, and of course Billy Dee Williams and Samuel Jackson, both of whom played secondary roles.

The voice of James Earl Jones as Darth Vader doesn't count, as that was only voiceover, and besides the actor who DID put on the big black suit, David Prowse, is white.
"B" as in "bictory"
   Wednesday, December 11, 2002 at 17:22:26 (PST)    [63.98.74.2]
I honestly can't stand the star wars movies, and i hope to whoever they don't put any asians in that trash.

What bothers me is that there probably aren't going to be any asians in the Matrix2. We are talking about computers here. they have white, black and latino, but no asian? come on. It's like not casting blacks in a basketball movie, it just doesn't make any sense.
Chicagoan
randomtexture@yahoo.com    Friday, November 08, 2002 at 10:19:02 (PST)    [12.250.171.174]
Perhaps Lucas might as well make a seventh installment of the saga... like:
Star Wars: Remnant of the Dark Side

Remaining Clone/Storm Troopers get trounced as they face off against another empire from the center of the galaxy. These alien people there look like Asians, and there's more of them than any other alien race in the galaxy.

So that way Lucas can hire PLA soldiers to play the part of the "Middle Space Kingdom", since even in the real world the PLA outnumbers Clone/Storm Troopers and perhaps even those Droid Armies.
Philippine_War_Machine
   Thursday, September 26, 2002 at 08:00:14 (PDT)    [192.203.40.5]
Star Wars is not the "distant future." It takes place "a long time ago," as just about everyone knows. Your column offers an interesting insight, but your piece is equally devoid of research and a real knowledge of Lucas' background. You have a good point; just do your homework before ranting. You make no mention of the necessity of a paean to Kurasawa. You fail to mention that several major animators and design folk for Lucas are asian american and, yes, male. Finally, it would seem that you hack and slash (pardon the pun) Lucas' sword-fighting sequences only because they are not more overtly respectful to asian arts. Please remember, however, that there exists a long history of European chivalric swordplay which is a major inspiration for the jedi as well.
Scarlet Carbuncle
   Monday, September 09, 2002 at 17:07:47 (PDT)    [172.136.203.62]

[Let's see if we understand... So these aliens from the dim distant past just happen to look like Whites? And Lucas somehow got a hold of this ancient story through some interstellar broadcast and is simply recounting what actually happened in the past and casting people who happen to look like these aliens. So Lucas really isn't responsible for the lack of Asian actors. Okay, we get it now. Gee, it's so great to have intelligent readers! --Ed]
Lin from Georgia:

Thanks for reading that argument. It got pretty heated though. For the record, I have a great deal of respect for huu76. He is a proud Asian guy who is pissed off at how Asians guys are being marginalized in American media and I really can't blame him.
Geoff DB
GeoffDB02@aol.com    Tuesday, September 03, 2002 at 16:36:40 (PDT)
Geoff and Huu,
You guys are something else!! Thanks for letting me see how really HUMAN men can relate to each other, even on the internet.
Lin from Georgia
   Friday, August 23, 2002 at 16:02:04 (PDT)
Political Observer:

Thanks alot, guy. Truly appreciate your comments and support. Once in a while I do get a little too idealistic. There are times when my buddies/friends and family need to put a boot to my ass and say wake up, boy. However, I do try to be even handed.

Again, thanks.

huu76:

Asians do need to be aware of people who are not caring about Asian American concerns and sensibilities. As I've stated before there is a credible, compelling argument that Asian women and men are deliberately excluded from American cinema and television. This exclusion clearly pisses off Asian Americans because you and other races are acutely aware of positive contributions made by Asians here in the US.

I would never ask Asians to do anything that I wouldn't do myself. Yes, you do have to be watchful and protect yourself and your interests. There is a very prejudiced, insensitive, morbid sector within the black American community who victimize blacks, Asians and whoever get in their way. Jealousy and hatred play a role in their thinking. I've interacted with several of them, including my boss at work. These same people blame everyone except themselves for their problems. I have no patience for them. There are also blacks who simply don't give a damn one way or another about Asians, in general.

What I'm trying to do is get you to reserve some room in your heart for truly understanding, respectful, friendly African American men and women who really do care about Asian issues and who don't condone exclusion of Asians Americans. There's more than a few of us, huu76, believe me.

By all means be honest, forthright and challenging. I like that about you, huu76. You're a good fighter.

You can have an important argument to make and have credible statistics/stories to buttress your argument, but if you say it the wrong way to people who would otherwise be supportive, then you've just mounted a wall of separation and gained additional enemies. That doesn't serve Asian American interests well.

Anyway, that's how I see it.

Take care, huu76. Talk to you again soon.
Geoff DB
GeoffDB02@aol.com    Friday, August 02, 2002 at 18:22:30 (PDT)
Geoff DB,
Please allow me to slightly revise my earlier comments to you concerning a need to be more aggressive with huu 76.

You certainly don' t need any advise from me. You're very capable of handling yourself with people who antagonize your race. There's a genuine good quality about you and a sense of balance and maturity that is an absolute joy to read about.
Political Observer
   Wednesday, July 31, 2002 at 21:02:06 (PDT)
Geoff,
If it means anything, you've given me a more positive outlook on things.
huu76
   Wednesday, July 31, 2002 at 13:31:48 (PDT)

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