If you are a popular athlete, have been attractive for most of your life or had a girlfriend in high school, then you probably don’t know that May 4 is Star Wars Day. Star Wars is the seminal piece of work in the nerd universe, and single-handedly created the serial Hollywood science fiction blockbuster.
While most of the cast of the franchise has been of the Caucasian persuasion, Star Wars movies have had quite a few black characters—some you probably didn’t even know about. So today we rank the top 10 Star Wars characters of all time.
Played by Billy Dee Williams (and Donald Glover in the upcoming film), Lando overcame his thug-life past of smuggling and gambling while growing up in Atlanta to become a general in the Rebel Alliance. He rose to fame as the person who fired the final shot that destroyed the Death Star and parlayed it into a music career (under the name “Lando Gambino”) and a lucrative endorsement deal for Colt 45 Malt Liquor.
FN-2187’s story is the story of black people in America, if you think about it. He was stolen from his parents and made a Stormtrooper—in layman’s terms, he was kidnapped and made a slave. He eventually escaped and ran away, only to later return to destroy the place where he was once a slave and kill all the masters. Yes, Finn is the Star Wars universe’s Nat Turner.
I know what you’re thinking: “That’s racist.” No, it’s not. You just have to look deeper. Chewie was literally Han Solo’s ride or die. He basically rode around in a dope ride with his homeboy running a smuggling ring. He was 6 feet 8 inches tall and played semipro Grav-ball before hooking up with Han. But Chewbacca’s big secret was what made him the ultimate co-pilot. Riddle me this: What do you get when you remove an “o” and an “i” from “wookie”; what do you get?
Chewie stayed woke.
Samuel L. Jackson’s character wore a dope hoodie and somehow found a store that sold Magic Shave for his bald head on every planet he visited. Windu attended a HBJCU—a historically black Jedi college or university—where he pledged Omega Psi Jedi.
And that’s how he got a purple lightsaber.
Voiced by Lupita Nyong’o, Maz Kanata was over 1,000 years old and ran a nightclub on the planet Takodana. Kanata was a pilot and a smuggler (of course—because of the Empire’s war on drugs, it seems like everybody down with the Rebel Alliance caught a smuggling charge at one time or another). While her club didn’t technically have a liquor license (the Galactic Empire alcohol-permit process is all political), everyone says the chicken wings are off the hook.
Yoda was one of the most prominent Hoteps in the Star Wars franchise. No one knows where he came from or even his species, but he shared a lot of wisdom with many Jedi. Yoda often spoke in riddles, dispensing his Hotep theories to Luke Skywalker. He was over 900 years old, and like all old men, he bragged about how well he could fight and how he used to get all the women when he was younger (he claims that he and Maz hooked up one night after the club closed).
When asked how he kept in shape and lived so long, Yoda replied, “The swine. Eat it, I do not.”
We all know that Darth Vader was voiced by James Earl Jones, but many people don’t know that Anakin wasn’t white—just very light-skinned (“Anakin” is an African name that means “he who the Force is with”). He “passed” for white for most of his life, until he finished Jedi junior college. He changed his name to Darth and joined the dark side to protect his family, which is what many black men have to do to provide for their loved ones. Plus, who could resist that dope three-piece Darth Vader suit? It came with a cape, bruh—a cape!
In his later years he developed a severe case of asthma that many attributed to the fact that he smoked good intergalactic ganja during his youth, but Vader always said it was because his “allergies were acting up.”
Although Forest Whitaker only appeared in Rogue One, everyone knew what Saw Gerrera represented. He was a radical activist for the Rebel Alliance whom the Galactic Empire wanted to hunt down and kill. He led a resistance that gained a lot of support for those who were tired of the Empire’s oppression. He wanted freedom By Any Means Necessary and eventually gave his life for the cause, but he will always be remembered for his contribution to the movement.
Saw Gerrera started Rebel Lives Matter.
(Spoiler alert!) If Darth Vader was black, then of course Luke and Leia were. You think Luke got all that athleticism from his mom’s side? Have you ever seen Princess Leia when she didn’t have that flowing baptism sundress on? Even though they are biracial, they fought for their people. After they were separated, Luke started going to church with Obi-Wan and Yoda, while Leia fell in love with a no-good thug named Han Solo, who left her with three kids so he could run the streets with his homeboy Chewbacca.
Although people say it is a combination of many religious beliefs, in the Star Wars universe, the Force is the energy and power that connects us all. Whenever something good happens, it was caused by “the Force.” The Force can teach you how to fight and protects those who know how to use it. You must close your eyes and pray really hard to use it, which means the Force must be like the Holy Ghost or Jesus or the universal thing people have named “God.” And we all know that the only white deity is the fictional blue-eyed Jesus with CrossFit-ripped abs in European paintings. The rest of them are black—even the one in Star Wars ...
And may it be with you.