Thursday, April 18, 2024

Moses Ingram speaks on representation in Star Wars

Moses Ingram, who most recently played Jolene on The Queen’s Gambit, is taking on a much bigger role in the upcoming Star Wars universe series coming to Disney+, Obi Wan Kenobi. This time, instead of an orphan part of a chess genius’ cohort, Ingram is playing a villain named Reva, one of Darth Vader’s underlings who is hunting the iconic Jedi knight.

“Obi-Wan is going to bring the most diversity I think we’ve ever seen in the galaxy before,” Ingram said in an interview with The Independent. “To me, it’s long overdue. If you’ve got talking droids and aliens, but no people of colour, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s 2022, you know. So we’re just at the beginning of that change. But I think to start that change is better than never having started it.”

The Star Wars franchise has a fraught history with how the people of color cast in it have been treated by fans. Both John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran faced racist backlash after they appeared in the new trilogy alongside Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver.

“I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race,” Boyega said in an interview with GQ. “Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it]. Nobody else had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying, ‘Black this and black that and you shouldn’t be a Stormtrooper.’ Nobody else had that experience. But yet people are surprised that I’m this way. That’s my frustration.”

Tran had a similar experience, one that she told THR felt like she “fell in love very publicly and then very publicly had an embarrassingly horrible breakup.” The fan reactions to her character in Star Wars eventually led her to wipe her Instagram account in 2018 and take an overall break from the internet and acting work.

In the face of this nasty history, it wouldn’t be surprising to see actors of color feeling wary about joining the famous sci-fi franchise, but Ingram seems to feel confident in what the production team is doing to make things safe.

“It was something that Lucasfilm actually got in front of, and said, ‘This is a thing that, unfortunately, likely will happen. But we are here to help you; you can let us know when it happens,'” Ingram told The Independent.

“Of course there are always pockets of hate,” she added. “But I have no problem with the block button.”

Ty Galiz-Rowe

Ty is a freelance games writer and esports expert.