J.J. Abrams also says John Boyega is "extraordinary" in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
Updated December 01, 2015 02:45 PM
Credit: Marianna Massey/Getty

Stars Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams did not mince words while addressing the controversy around casting black actor John Boyega as a Stormtrooper in the highly anticipated sequel.

During an interview with Howard Stern that aired on the shock jock’s SiriusXM radio show Monday, both Abrams and Stern sounded incredulous that the issue became contentious.

“Why couldn’t there be a black Stormtrooper? I don’t understand,” Stern said.

“Neither did I,” Abrams replied. “All I know is that John Boyega is extraordinary in the movie.”

Stern continued: “Yeah, but why are so many people complaining about this?”

Abrams was straightforward in his response.

“I think the people who are complaining about that probably have bigger problems than there’s a black Stormtrooper,” he said.

The controversy kicked off a year ago when the first teaser trailer for the blockbuster sequel featured Boyega, 23, as the first actor to appear onscreen.

Boyega initially addressed the controversy on Instagram, politely writing, “Get used to it. :)” and went into more detail while speaking to V Magazine earlier this year.

“It was unnecessary,” he said of the negativity. “I’m in the movie, what are you going to do about it? You either enjoy it or you don’t. I’m not saying get used to the future, but what is already happening. People of color and women are increasingly being shown on-screen. For things to be whitewashed just doesn’t make sense.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens speeds into theaters Dec. 18.