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‘Star Wars’ China Poster Sparks Controversy After Shrinking John Boyega’s Character

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” fans are menaced by the Chinese poster for the upcoming sci-fi epic.

The poster has sparked controversy online over stylistic changes, one of which resulted in the diminished presence of John Boyega’s lightsaber-wielding character.

Here are some tweets about the poster:

https://twitter.com/SohoGuy/status/672511908898086913

Aside from giving BB-8 more prominence, the biggest discrepancy between the two posters is the shrinking of Boyega’s Finn and the positioning of his body. Boyega, who plays a lead role, is lowered down from the original poster — where he’s the third largest character after Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren and Daisy Ridley’s Rey — and tucked under Harrison Ford’s gun-toting Han Solo and Carrie Fisher’s Leia, and behind a much lager BB-8.

Meanwhile, other non-white characters, including Oscar Isaac, who plays rebel pilot Poe Dameron, Lupita Nyong’o, who plays alien pirate Maz Kanata, and Chewbacca have been cut out altogether. They’re replaced by X-wings, TIE fighters and rows of Stormtroopers.

The “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Chinese poster.
Courtesy of Lucas Film

The poster was released earlier this week along with the announcement of the film’s release date in the country. “Star Wars” hits theaters in China on Jan. 9 — about a month after its worldwide release on Dec. 18. Some of the movie’s stars are expected to attend the gala premiere in China.

The casting of a black actor, Boyega, in the role of a Stormtrooper, was initially met with backlash. “To whom it may concern … Get used to it,” Boyega said late last year about the issue.

In a similar recent incident, Lionsgate was forced to recall marketing material for “12 Years a Slave,” after posters in Italy featured Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender at the expense of star Chiwetel Ejiofor.

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