Princeton’s class of 2012 thought it would be hilarious to make the theme of their five-year reunion “Revenge of the Fifth.” There were going to be costumes, and they even had a little logo, featuring an R2-D2 lookalike droid (in Princeton colors, of course), made up to grace their ticket sales page.
It turns out, though, that even Star Wars can trigger people in this age of constant oppression, and the Princeton Class of 2012 was quickly faced with a quandary over their themed party: If people dressed like Stormtroopers, would they be mistaken for Nazis?
The connection isn’t immediately clear, but according to an email sent to members of the Class of 2012, the term “Stormtrooper” has its origin in pre-war Germany, and the decision to dress up as a Stormtrooper—even one from a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away—was decidedly problematic.
So the party committee immediately issued an apology and, it appears, banned Stormtrooper costumes from the event.
Since the committee itself was providing costumes (for a fee), people who ordered their Stormtrooper gear were left high and dry. The committee says that it will replace the ordered Stormtrooper costumes with a more appropriate, less triggering option.
According to StarWars.com, the allusion to Nazi “brownshirts” is not necessarily intended, but filmmakers were moved by propaganda newsreels showing Nazi storm troopers moving together in formation. The “iconic image of Fascism” inspired, at least in part, the Stormtroopers of the Empire.
But while Stormtroopers do play the role of evil henchmen in the films, even the most ardent social justice warriors seem to recognize that they’re merely fictional characters. In fact, the single largest costuming group of Star Wars fans, the 501st Legion, is almost entirely Stormtroopers.
At least Princeton alums are now safe, however.