black science fiction & film

“Not quite what you were expecting, right?”

The Oracle’s turn to the camera breaks the fourth wall and pokes fun at the expectations of both Neo and the audience. Her unassuming racialized and gendered presence underscores that a Black woman -like her - is omniscient, important, and present in a science fiction film.The intended effect of her statement to the spectators of the film, reveals a racist blemish on the multicultural, progressive, post-human, post-race narrative of United States culture- that due to the many preconceived notions about Africana people, there is very little expectation for a person of African descent to appear in science fiction worlds or to exist in position of reverence for white characters, and by extension a white audience. The representation of an Africana woman in a futuristic environment instills a feeling of discomfort and ironically, disbelief, to the mainstream science fiction viewer.

hollywoodreporter.com
Lupita Nyong'o in Talks to Star in Sci-Fi Thriller With Ava DuVernay Eyed to Direct (Exclusive)
'Jurassic World' director Colin Trevorrow and his collaborator Derek Connolly wrote the script.

‘Intelligent Life’ is a reworking of an earlier Trevorrow-Connolly project titled The Ambassador about a U.N. worker in a department that was created to represent humankind in the event of alien contact. The man falls in love with a mysterious woman who turns out to be an alien. The tone is said to be similar to Trevorrow’sSafety Not Guaranteed and takes The Ambassador to a larger scale story.

Nyong’o will play the woman at the center of the alien contact.

But even if Abrams didn’t intend this to telegraph a Negro army of stormtroopers, it’s OK. One of the beautiful things about filmmaking is the dialect it creates between filmmakers and audiences to create jointly the universe being seen. Indeed, the many boring articles about Star Wars’ banal politics or the franchise somehow signaling “the end of culture” miss a crucial point which filmmakers since Sergei Eisenstein have long acknowledged: that we, the viewer, have a role in making the world we see on screen.

And to me, the Force Awakens’ lone revealed stormtrooper led me to picture an Afrofuturist army of black skins living under white masks. It will be thrilling to see what happens to that army in further installments now that one of their own got woke.

After I saw Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens the first time, I was left wondering: what if under every white stormtrooper’s armour was a black human?

After all, the only stormtrooper we actually see unmasked is played by John Boyega, and so it’s possible – though we are conditioned to believe that whiteness is the norm even in outer space – that his race wasn’t an aberration but the standard. The clues were certainly there: that on a galactic scale the First Order had conscripted black folks to do its heavy lifting (just as so many other oppressive regimes have done right here on earth on a planetary scale).