Advertisement

John Boyega says diverse 'Star Wars' characters were 'pushed to the side'

John Boyega discussed Finn's treatment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy and how his experience with the franchise was dictated by his race. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
John Boyega discussed Finn's treatment in the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy and how his experience with the franchise was dictated by his race. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 2 (UPI) -- John Boyega says diverse characters in the Star Wars sequel trilogy were ultimately "pushed to the side" by Disney.

The 28-year-old British-Nigerian actor discussed the treatment of his character, Finn, and other characters of color in the October issue of British GQ.

Advertisement

Boyega played Finn in The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019). His character was heavily featured in promotional materials for The Force Awakens and had a larger role in the first film than the sequels.

"It's so difficult to maneuver," Boyega said. "[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 then pushed to the side. It's not good. I'll say it straight up."

Boyega said he feels Disney also sidelined other characters of color, including Kelly Marie Tran's Rose, while centering on White characters, such as Daisy Ridley's Rey and Adam Driver's Kylo Ren.

"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 [expletive] all," Boyega said.

Advertisement

"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," he added.

Boyega said his Star Wars casting was an "amazing opportunity," but discussed how his experience with the franchise was dictated by his race. Boyega was the target of racist abuse after his casting was announced.

"I'm the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race," the actor said. "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."

"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," he added.

Advertisement

Boyega made headlines in June for giving a passionate speech in support of Black Lives Matter following George Floyd's death. Lucasfilm supported Boyega and said it will "commit to being part of the change" in the world.

Boyega will star in the BBC One and Amazon series Small Axe, created and directed by Steve McQueen. He will also star with Jodie Turner-Smith and Felicity Jones in the new film Borderland.

Latest Headlines