After starring in a decently diverse Star Wars film, Finn actor John Boyega recently expressed his concern with the lack of diversity in other fantastical movies and TV shows, which have made far less of an effort to include people of color in recent years.
“There are no black people on Game of Thrones,” Boyega told GQ, which is only partly true, as any black characters in the hit HBO series are often sidelined and second-tier. More accurately, Boyega also pointed out that “you don’t see one black person in Lord of the Rings,” which is the hard truth.
Dragons aren’t a problem, but non-white people seem to be.
“I ain’t paying money to always see one type of person on-screen,” he added. “Because you see different people from different backgrounds, different cultures, every day. Even if you’re a racist, you have to live with that. We can ruffle up some feathers.”
Fantasy such as Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings might not be taking steps to accurately reflect the diversity in our own world, but science fiction properties are making a concerted effort as of the past few years.
Star Trek, always boldly looking toward a better, more inclusive future, has cast two women of color as leads in the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series. And, of course, the powers that be at Lucasfilm incited outrage amongst racist fans when Boyega’s Finn was first introduced as a main character in the new Star Wars trilogy, with internet trolls insisting that black Stormtroopers don’t exist.
Popular fantasy has a long way to go to catch up. Seems like the ball’s in your court, Game of Thrones.