Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is widely regarded as the best product of the Disney Star Wars era thus far. In fact, many, like me, view the film as one of the best of the franchise. Therefore, it stands to reason that one or more of its actors would attend Star Wars Celebration. That’s exactly what Riz Ahmed (Rogue One’s Bodhi Rook) intended to do. Only he couldn’t.
In speaking at the CAA Amplify conference last week, Star Wars actor Riz Ahmed admitted the reason why he was unable to attend Celebration this year. It wasn’t due to scheduling conflicts or illness, as is often the case. No, this time, according to the actor, he was unable to attend because of Homeland Security.
The Emmy-winning actor spoke at the conference about being a Muslim in America, and of his travel experiences world-wide. According to Variety, he would find himself detained at airports for no legitimate reason whatsoever. The incidents would often result in swabs for explosives. It was one such instance that prevented Riz Ahmed from boarding his flight to attend Celebration in April.
Homeland Security prevents Riz Ahmed from attending Celebration
With all my privilege and profile, I often wonder if this is going to be the year they round us up, if this is the year they’re going to put Trump’s Muslim registry into action, if this is going to be the year they ship us all off.”~Riz Ahmed, speaking at the CAA Amplify Conference in June.
Riz Ahmed was referring to Donald Trump’s call for to register all Muslims in the United States. Islamophobia doesn’t just occur in the US, however. British nationalism fueled Brexit and, as Variety also reports, China is currently holding Uigher Muslims in detention camps. “[I]t’s really scary to be a Muslim right now,” Ahmed remarked. “Super scary.”
Some fans decry the Star Wars franchise’s political undertones, but… the Empire is made up primarily of white men, after all. Notwithstanding, it seems that the prejudices of the galaxy far, far away are seeping into the real world, as well. Riz Ahmed would have attended Celebration, likely in support of his Rogue One co-stars Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk. They will reprise their roles of Cassian Andor and K-2SO, respectively, in an upcoming, live-action Star Wars spy thriller series on Disney+.
It’s a pity he lost his chance.