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How Black Characters Defined the Galaxy Far, Far Away

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

Early Star Wars was not known for its diversity on-screen, though recent projects are definitely working towards changing that. Now, Star Wars has a number of Black characters who have been influential over stories in the Star Wars galaxy in different ways, and we're going to celebrate them as Black History Month comes to a close.

Black Jedi have been some incredible characters to grace the Star Wars universe. The most famous of course is Mace Windu, with his iconic purple lightsaber, but there's also a new character that deserves some love- the padawan Bell Zettifar from the High Republic stories. Bell's journey so far has shown some incredible growth as he learned under two masters, and has shown remarkable strength, compassion and ingenuity across his appearances. Bell has all of the qualities that make Jedi so great, and uses them to save people and follow the Force. The High Republic also gives us a Black Jedi named Keeve Trennis, who has her own journey to follow in the comic books.

Black people have also been notable heroes of the Rebellion. There is of course the first major Black character to grace Star Wars screens, Lando Calrissian who became a rebellion general, as well as some of the early fighters for Bail Organa's rebellion, Kaedan and Miara Larte. There's the rebel who didn't stick by the big rebellion, Saw Gerrera, and his sister Steela. In addition, we have rebel ally and spy Zare Leonis, who was a side character in the first season of Star Wars Rebels and had his own book series, Servants of the Empire.

And of course, we have our Resistance fighters. The most notable of the Black characters we can find in the Resistance are Finn and Jannah. This ex-stormtrooper pair have inspiring story arcs about finding a found family and having growing beyond an oppressive force trying to mold you into something you weren't meant to be, and then standing up to that force to save the galaxy.

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Great article!

It’s nice to know that especially with the High Republic content that we’re getting more recognition in terms of major characters. I like how you brought up the purple saber for Mace Windu. It’s evident that they valued Samuel L. Jackson’s role so much that they granted him a never before seen lightsaber color.

A couple more recent examples are Thundercat as Mod Artist and Jordan Bolger as Skad both in BoBF. Like you, I completely support Skad’s glorious spinning which not only looked cool but served the purpose of dodging incoming blasts.

Anyhow, great work on this article as always Zoe!

~Kevin, Grogu’s Broseph

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