“It’s so difficult to maneuver,” Boyega said. “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.”
Boyega was also critical of the film’s handling of people of color in the cast like Naomi Ackie (Jannah), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron). The story says “the reordered character hierarchy of 2017’s The Last Jedi was particularly hard to take” in the wake of how the characters were first introduced in 2015’s The Force Awakens.
“Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver,” he said. “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 then added, “I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race. 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.”’
Boyega has been a mainstay in the news, with losing his script, his criticism of Tran’s handling of herself on social media, and a moving speech at a Black Lives Matter rally.
These comments will make it interesting to see how, if ever, his character returns to the Star Wars franchise. With its move to the small screen on Disney+, there may have been the potential for a series that would feature Finn. But is that bridge burnt?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
This is post P-90x. I’m saying I watched the videos. I’m not saying I participated. Born in my mom’s basement, I’ve stayed there to embody the stereotype. One day I will rise up… to the main floor of the house.