Video of Carl Sagan Calling Out 'Star Wars' for Being Too White Resurfaces

The name of Carl Sagan, the late astronomer and astrophysicist, trended on Twitter on Monday night, with users posting archive footage of him discussing topics such as climate change and scientific inaccuracies in Star Wars.

Sagan was an influential public figure thanks to his works that included numerous books, university lectures, and the acclaimed television series Cosmos.

The sudden interest in Sagan's words appears to have been sparked by one clip of the scientist discussing Star Wars, the search for alien life, and more on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1978—the year after the first Star Wars film was released.

In it, Carson asks Sagan to discuss his views on the then-newly released sci-fi epic.

Sagan said: "Star Wars starts out saying it's on some other galaxy, and then you see there's people.

"It's extremely unlikely that there would be creatures as similar to us as the dominant ones in Star Wars. And there's a whole bunch of other things; they're all white."

"The skin of all the humans in Star Wars, oddly enough, is sort of like this," Sagan said, gesturing to his own hands. "And not even the other colors represented on the Earth are present, much less greens and blues and purples and oranges.

"Everybody in charge of the galaxy seemed to look like us, and I thought that was a large amount of human chauvanism."

A clip of the interview was shared by a Twitter user who said Sagan had "called out Star Wars for being too white."

That time Carl Sagan called out Star Wars for being too white and the audience didn’t know what to do 💀

— Zeus Tipado (@tipado) July 11, 2021

Another user said Sagan was "ahead of his time" and "also in tune with debates around representation taking place in the 70s."

Meanwhile, another user praised Sagan for his prescient views on climate change, sharing a keynote speech he made before the 5th Emerging Issues Forum at NCSU in 1990.

If Carl Sagan were still with us today he would be an EXTREMELY outspoken climate scientist-activist.

Everything he says here was bang on... over 31 years ago.

— Peter Kalmus (@ClimateHuman) July 12, 2021

Addressing delegates, Sagan used Venus, with its scorching surface temperatures, as an example of a planet with a runaway greenhouse effect

He said: "The lesson is not only that a greenhouse effect can exist but that a large greenhouse effect can be exceptionally dangerous.

"So for anyone who views our exquisite planet and hears the warnings of scientists and says 'all this greenhouse stuff is just some theory,' I ask them to reflect on the fate of the planet Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor."

He also went on to use the lifeless planet Mars as an example of what happens to a world that does not have an ozone layer; another aspect of Earth's atmosphere that scientists have voiced concern about for decades.

Carl Sagan died in 1996, aged 62. He held a bachelor's and master's degree in physics, a doctorate in astronomy, and taught at both Harvard and Cornell universities.

He also worked on numerous NASA projects including the Voyager, Mariner, Viking, and Galileo missions, and had a leading role in the design of the famous Golden Record—a time capsule attached to the Voyager probes that tells the story of human existence.

Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan pictured in a laboratory at Cornell University in New York, March 1974. The astronomer became a well-known public figure. Santi Visalli, Inc./Getty

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