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China’s version of the Star Wars promo poster diminishes all the non-white characters

Star Wars
Not all of these characters made the cut.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

The first Star Wars film in a decade is expected to be released in China in January—about a month after the film’s general release—and the country has gotten its own version of the film poster. Instead of just translating the text, some stylistic choices appear to have been made for the local audience.

The Chinese version of the poster has either cut out or minimized every non-white and alien character. John Boyega, who plays Finn, one of the film’s new main characters, has been nearly hidden by a now much larger BB-8. Oscar Isaac, who plays rebel pilot Poe Dameron, and Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o, who plays alien pirate Maz Kanata, have been cut out altogether. Chewbacca, Han Solo’s ever-faithful sidekick, has also been cut from the poster for some reason. It’s like the medal ceremony in A New Hope all over again.

The spaces from the removed and reduced characters have been filled with more action and explosions. There’s a greater number of X-wings and TIE fighters, and extra displays of military might: In the US version of the poster, there’s a single row of Stormtroopers—in the Chinese version, there are two phalanxes of troops, achieving a look that China has historically displayed with pride.

Lucasfilm and Disney weren’t immediately available to comment on why the poster might have been changed for the Chinese market. But considering that recent space-based action movies, including The Martian and Gravity have performed well in the country, it’s safe to assume that Disney expects the force to be strong with Chinese moviegoers.

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