George Lucas Defends Majority-White Casting Of Original 'Star Wars' Trilogy And Prequels

George Lucas doesn’t think the nearly all-white casting of his “Star Wars” films is a problem.

The 80-year-old director, who wrote and directed the original 1977 fantasy-adventure himself before handing the reins for the rest of his trilogy off to other filmmakers, returned to the director’s chair for three not-so-popular prequel entries beginning in 1999.

While the beloved franchise has intergenerational legions of fans, critics in recent years have noted the lack of racial diversity across both trilogies — something Lucas addressed Friday at the Cannes Film Festival, where he’s set to receive an honorary Palme d’Or.

“They would say, ‘It’s all white men,’” Lucas said, per Variety. “Most of the people are aliens! The idea is you’re supposed to accept people for what they are, whether they’re big and furry or whether they’re green or whatever. The idea is all people are equal.”

Lucas produced the World War II drama “Red Tails” (2012), which focused on Black airmen. But his “Star Wars” films have faced this particular criticism since the first movie’s release, including from famed astronomer Carl Sagan.

“It’s extremely unlikely that there would be creatures as similar to us as the dominant ones in ‘Star Wars,’ and there’s a whole bunch of other things — they’re all white,” he said on “The Tonight Show” in 1978. “The skin of all the humans … oddly enough, is [white].”

Black “Star Wars” characters include Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson). Jar-Jar Binks, a CGI alien, was also played by Black actor Ahmed Best, and villain Darth Vader was voiced by James Earl Jones.

Lucas is set to receive an honorary Palme d'Or at the festival Saturday.
Lucas is set to receive an honorary Palme d'Or at the festival Saturday. Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Lucas argued Friday that “there were a few Tunisians who were dark” in the original film, that Williams was a major part of the 1980 sequel, and noted Jackson’s character was a “top Jedi.”

But in “Star Wars,” anti-droid prejudice is very real, he said.

“People are always discriminating against something and sooner or later, that’s what’s going to happen,” he reportedly said at the festival. “I mean, we’re already starting with AI, saying, ‘Well, we can’t trust those robots.’”

Lucas sold his Lucasfilm production company in 2012 to Disney $4.05 billion. On Friday, he criticized Disney’s follow-up films — and said he’s the only one “who really knew what ‘Star Wars’ was.”

“When they started other ones after I sold the company, a lot of the ideas that were in [the original] sort of got lost,” he said, per The Hollywood Reporter. But that’s the way it is. You give it up, you give it up.”