London, England: As the media juggernaut that is the Star Wars Episode VII-IX Auditions Tour jumps to hyperdrive and invades Europe, fans and hopefuls alike were treated to the baffling sight of a Chinaman joining the queue of the estimated 25,000 people that turned up to fulfil that lifelong dream and try to secure a role in the next three episodes of the grand space opera.
Ching Chong Chung (52), had arrived at the O2 Arena by rickshaw direct from Londons Chinatown with a dream of securing his place in history and becoming the first Chinaman to star in the most successful movie franchise of all time.
“the only Wookie in the galaxy”
Critics of the original trilogy have often lamented the lack of ethnic diversity in the STAR WARS universe. While some ethnic groups, like the Irish Leprechaun, received numerous roles throughout the three films, others were reduced to just one instance of their existence being portrayed. By 1980 and the release of The Empire Strikes Back it had lead to a phrase being coined that Han Solo’s trusted co-pilot was “the only Wookie in the galaxy.”
The prequels also received their share of criticism when, in a misguided effort to pander to liberal sensibilities, George Lucas included many other ethnic characters in the cast line-up and proceeded to give them fantastically hilarious johnny foreigner accents; none more side-splitting than the much loved Jar Jar Jar Binks, whose catchphrase “Yessuh massah, sho’ nuff!” has become enshrined in STAR WARS lore alongside “I am your father!” and “"But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!"
However, throughout the entire series and all subsequent spin-offs and animated projects there has yet to be a single Chinese STAR WARS character – something Mr Chung was keenly aware of as he stood in line, bravely awaiting his turn to face the STAR WARS casting director.
Minutes later and it was all over; Mr Chung had been directed to the O2 kitchens to help assist the overworked staff as they struggled to feed the throngs of acting hopefuls queuing outside.
Casting director Robinn Garland spoke briefly with The Templar Times shortly after Mr Chungs removal to the kitchens.
“Look, my job is difficult enough as it is, casting for the most anticipated film of the 21st century. There is no way I’m rocking the boat with a decision as momentous as casting a Chinaman. I just don’t think Western audiences are ready for that yet.”
Japanesies, African American Slaves and The Irish have
all received high profile roles in the STAR WARS saga.