While much of the world watches and rewatches the new "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailer
for clues about the eagerly anticipated movie, a small minority of people have attacked the film's ethnically diverse casting as "anti-white."
"#BoycottStarWarsVII because it is anti-white propaganda promoting #whitegenocide," read a tweet Monday from an account called End Cultural Marxism
. The same Twitter user also called J.J. Abrams, the movie's director, a "Jewish activist" and "an anti-white nut
Another Twitter user
called for a boycott of the movie "because it's nothing more than a social justice propaganda piece that alienates it's (sic) core audience of young white males."
A flurry of racist tweets included the #BoycottStarWarsVII hashtag, and someone on Monday even set up a @BoycottStarWarsVII Twitter account, although it only had 176 followers Tuesday afternoon.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" features new heroic lead characters -- played by Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac -- alongside some familiar faces from the original trilogy. Boyega is black, while Isaac has Guatemalan and Cuban ancestry.
It didn't take long for the trolls on social media to be drowned out by hordes of people mocking them while coming to the defense of the cast and the movie.
Some posts on 4chan, the anything-goes website, claimed the #BoycottStarWarsVII tweets were part of an elaborate trolling campaign to spread shock and outrage, according to Wired
Some observers found the whole thing a bit ironic, given that the first "Star Wars" movie in 1977 had an overwhelmingly white cast. Although James Earl Jones voiced villain Darth Vader throughout the series, fellow African-American actor Billy Dee Williams didn't appear as Lando Calrissian until "The Empire Strikes Back."
" 'Star Wars' has never been a bastion of diversity. Lando and Leia were the only nonwhite and nonmale main characters (among the humans, anyway) in the original franchise," wrote Richard Lawson last year in Vanity Fair
"George Lucas's dreadful prequels at least made some attempts at racial diversity, with Samuel L. Jackson and Jimmy Smits playing large roles, though it mostly forgot about women."
Abrams addressed the issue
last summer at San Diego Comic-Con when he responded to a question about diversity in casting by saying, "I think it's important people see themselves represented in film. I think it's not a small thing."
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will open in U.S. theaters December 18.
The movie also stars Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis and Max von Sydow, along with original cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and others in supporting roles.