Plus, the rebooted "Star Wars" franchise had already recruited several significant names from Asian cinema for December 2015's "Star Wars Episode VII" in the formidable form of Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman -- all seen in Indonesia's "The Raid 2."
The Mouse House recognizes the financial juggernaut that is the pan-Asian film-going audience, Chinese and beyond. If you want to expand your Asian market for big-bill films like, say, Star Wars, it's simply good business to put some Asian actors on screen to increase their appeal.
There's something both funny and deeply satisfying in this. We've seen some pretty vocal backlash against the notion of a black stormtrooper or a woman lead in Mad Max: Furiosa Road. The people raising their voices so vociferously tend to be neither black nor women; they're the sort of folk used to comfortably seeing themselves reflected as heroes or in positions of power and are perhaps somewhat uncomfortable about that dominance being challenged.
It's the worst kind of invasion; it's like Lefty Hollywood is opening the door and letting the barbarians in. Or like that time Apple argued in favour of gay marriage.
How the people who argue that their traditions/genetics are superior while promoting free-market capitalism and dismiss marginalized populations as whiners square their fear of being supplanted on the streets, in the work place and even on screen by lesser-than ethnicities is a bit confusing, but hey - when you're ideology is simple and straightforward, there's not much that can alter it, is there?
That's the big secret to competition - it's not necessarily about fighting the right enemies, so much as befriending partners.
Evolution isn't about those who are the toughest, inflexible or violent - it favours those best able to adapt.
Which is why I'm not super worried about race wars or violent clashes between ideological progressive and conservatives. It's basic Sun-tzu; the best battles are the ones won without ever setting foot in the arena.
I can't force you to believe this, but it is good business.