The Nerd Side Of Life

That Time Carl Sagan Called Out “Star Wars” for All White Cast

The year is 1978. “Star Wars” has already made a deep, Death Star trench-run sized mark in the cultural zeitgeist, striking a chord with fans of all ages. But one ‘fan,’ with a certain observation, brings his thoughts to the forefront during a visit to the most watched television program of the day. We’re talking of course of the one and only Carl Sagan, and his visit to “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” dated March 2nd, 1979.

During the segment, Sagan mentions something in particular about the first of the cosmic conflict programs- that all the humanoid characters are white. True, this is well before “The Empire Strikes Back” and the introduction of Bille Dee Williams‘ Lando Calrissian happens, but it is absolutely a fair observation.

“Star Wars starts out saying it’s on some other galaxy, and then you see there’s people. 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. The skin of all the humans in Star Wars, oddly enough, is sort of like this [gesturing to his own hands]. And not even the other colors represented on the Earth are present, much less greens and blues and purples and oranges.”

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