John Boyega Accuses Disney of Downplaying Characters of Color in Recent “Star Wars” Films in New Interview

Matthew Soberman

John Boyega Accuses Disney of Downplaying Characters of Color in Recent “Star Wars” Films in New Interview

Matthew Soberman

John Boyega Accuses Disney of Downplaying Characters of Color in Recent “Star Wars” Films in New Interview

John Boyega is speaking out about how characters of color were treated in the Star Wars sequel trilogy in a new interview with British GQ.

Boyega, who played Finn, the ex-Stormtrooper who joins the Resistance against the First Order, claims that Disney downplayed his and other characters in The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, saying point-blank, “…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.”

Despite Finn having a significant character arc in The Force Awakens, he believes that his character and others had their roles reduced in The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker due to negative reactions over their race.

He added, “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*** 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, who has been outspoken about his support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd, discussed his experience as a black man in a major franchise:

“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.”

The next Star Wars trilogy is scheduled premiere in 2023.

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13 thoughts on “John Boyega Accuses Disney of Downplaying Characters of Color in Recent “Star Wars” Films in New Interview”

  1. Oh get over yourself. I’m so sick of all the accusations and whining and bullying anymore. And to think Finn used to be my favorite character.

  2. I politely disagree. Finn was a lame character- it had nothing to do with his race. He was just boring. However, Rose Tico was an amazing character and we definitely needed more out of her.

  3. Boyega is correct. He shouldn’t have been in the movie anyway. Acting ability? I have a 6-year old grandson that is a better actor than this whiney baby is. Hollywood not being ready for him? I think it’s the other way around—he’s not ready for Hollywood. I am surprised that he was invited back for the 2nd movie. He should have read the script–the movie was about Jedi warriors and not black Stormtroopers. His role was a minor character and he got a lot more screen time than he deserved for his minor role.

  4. Sorry to have to break this to you John, but your role was reduced in subsequent films due to the fact that audiences didn’t like your character or your portrayal… It had nothing to do with race. I can see though how you feel the need to place blame somewhere else. The same is true for Tran. The viewer is not required to like a character or the actor’s portrayal because they are of minority decent. Furthermore, a studio is not required to continue to highlight those characters if they are not well received. Again, it’s not about race, but Boyega want’s to make it about that.

  5. Talk about a guy who is tanking his career!
    Yes, it is sad that both Tran and Boyega had to endure harassment, but who didn’t realize from the start that Rey and Kylo were the main story arc? Seriously!
    This guy just has sour-grapes that his character wasn’t the main lead. Hey dude – sometimes in the movie industry characters and parts are changed around during production! And now he’s speaking out about the lack of support for being a black character in Star Wars?

    Tell that to Billy Dee Williams! An actor of color that has been a beloved SW character from day one.

    Tell that to the late (and fantastic actor) Chadwick Boseman.

    And even Tran herself is currently doing several projects with Disney.

    Personally I enjoyed the Finn character and would love to see a back-story movie on him, just don’t cast this back-stabbing sour-grapes Boyega in it! His acting career is over, and it will be his own fault. (PS: There’s not much money in being an activist – but go ahead!)

  6. John Boyega brings up a few issues here. There definitely were fans that made despicable racist and sexist comments. At least from what I’ve read in articles, the worst were made about Kelly Marie Tran.

    As far as the arc of the films, Boyega is angry over the lack of emphasis on his and Ms. Tran’s parts. I’ve read that her role was greatly diminished when changes were made due to Carrie Fisher’s passing. I don’t know if that also had an effect on Mr. Boyega’s role as well.

    I can understand that any actor would be upset over a diminished role. Given Hollywood’s (and society’s) historical treatment of people of color, Mr. Boyega’s anger is understandable. I’m just not sure that this was intentionally done. If it was, then those responsible do need to be called out.

  7. To be honest they didn’t know what to do with any of the characters in Episodes 7, 8, 9. They should never had sidelined Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). None of the new stars (Daisy, John and Adam) were any good. Their chemistry or lack there of seemed forced. They could not capture the fun and excitement of the original movies. Another thing that was forced was the so called diversity in the new trilogy. Movie stars should just entertain…that’s their job and they should not get political or express controversial viewpoints. That’s the quickest way to get blacklisted in Hollywood.

  8. So hes made 3 films, enjoyed his character but surely he should of noticed his claims in the first film and declined further roles to stand up for his beliefs, talk about jumping on the band wagon 🤔

  9. Really John? The whole franchise is built on the concept of the little guy winning against insurmountable odds through TEAMWORK between many species and races and you want to make it all about YOU. Luke Skywalker was played by a gay man from the 1970s until now, and they are an even bigger minority in films. The movie franchise isn’t about one person’s journey. It’s about how every little piece of the puzzle plays an important role. Rogue One was literally about all the effort that went into simply delivering the Death Star plans to Leia, and an entire planet died making it happen. None of those characters even got a 2nd Star Wars movie.

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