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John Boyega Says Star Wars Should Have Done Better With Its People of Color

September 2, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
John Boyega Star Wars The Last Jedi

John Boyega’s days as Finn in the Star Wars franchise are done, and the actor has expressed frustration with how the franchise handled its people of color in a new interview. Boyega, who played the Stormtrooper-turned-Rebel in The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker, spoke with GQ and when asked about his experience with the franchise, he aired some issues he had with how the people of color like Finn, Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), Naomi Ackie (Jannah) and even the Quatemala and Cuban-descended Oscar Isaac (Poe) were handled in the storyline.

When asked about how he reflects on his involvement in the films, Boyega said, “It’s so difficult to maneuver. You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything. [But] what I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up … Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver. You knew what to do with these other people, but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know f**k all. So what do you want me to say? What they want you to say is, ‘I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience…’ Nah, nah, nah. I’ll take that deal when it’s a great experience. They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley. Let’s be honest. Daisy knows this. Adam knows this. Everybody knows. I’m not exposing anything.”

Boyega did impress that it was an “amazing opportunity” and a “stepping stone” to the greater success in his career. He also defended J.J. Abrams’ return to the franchise for The Rise of Skywalker, noting, “Everybody needs to leave my boy alone. He wasn’t even supposed to come back and try to save your s**t.”

Boyega also looked back on the intense backlash to his being cast as a black stormtrooper, noting that it wasn’t easy for him to deal with. “I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race,” Boyega said about The Force Awakens. “Let’s just leave it like that. It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you. Because you realize, ‘I got given this opportunity but I’m in an industry that wasn’t even ready for me.’ Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it]. Nobody else had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying, ‘Black this and black that and you shouldn’t be a Stormtrooper.’ Nobody else had that experience. But yet people are surprised that I’m this way. That’s my frustration.”

article topics :

John Boyega, Star Wars, Jeremy Thomas