John Boyega: "I'm the only actor whose Star Wars experience was based on their race."
The latest Star Wars trilogy has been the subject of controversy since its debut. And with the end of last year, people begin to fully understand their feelings and frustrations with the aspiration. One of those people was part of the star cast of the film, John Boyega.
Ever since we saw him as a Storm Trooper daring to take off his helmet and join the Resistance, the audience knew that Boyega was special.
Not only was he the first black protagonist of the Star Wars universe, but he also exuded charisma and seriousness that you loved to root for him.
By the time The Force Awakens ended, we were sure that Finn's story would be an integral part of where Star Wars could lead in this new era. And John Boyega was on the same page as us … until the sequels happened.
In an open and truthful interview with GQ, Boyega also suggests that his various leading characters, including Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran and Oscar Isaac, fell victim to similar fates.
"They get involved in projects and they won't necessarily like everything. (But) what I would say about Disney is not bring up a black character, market them to be way more important than them in the franchise, and then push them aside It's not good. I'll say it in a moment, "commented Boyega.
Boyega was the target of many racist and venomous fans over the course of the film. Almost more than any other actor in the films, the headlines have always been about how he was treated. One of the things that made me love Boyega even more is that he wasn't afraid to call these fans. Whether on Twitter or in interviews, he made apologetic efforts to be seen and heard in this universe.
And he also made sure that his castmates were seen and heard.
"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 damn it," he continued. “So what should I say? They want you to say, “I enjoyed being part of it. It was a great experience … "No, no, no. I'll take this deal if it's a great experience."
He added that some of the film's white cast didn't have the same underwriting: “They gave Adam Driver all the nuance, Daisy Ridley all the nuance. Let's be honest Daisy knows that. Adam knows that. Everyone knows. I don't make anything visible. "
Boyega went on to talk about how a person of color in the Star Wars universe could have led him to be treated with some aggression because of his blackness, saying, “I'm the only performer who has his own unique experience with This franchise based on their race … it makes you angry at such a process. It makes you a lot more militant; it changes you. Because you realize, "I got this opportunity, but I'm in an industry that wasn't even ready for me." Nobody in the cast had people saying they were boycotting the movie because (they were in) it. Nobody else let the riot and death threats broadcast to their Instagram DMs and social media saying, "Black this and black that and you shouldn't be a stormtrooper." Nobody else had this experience. Still, people are surprised that I am like this. This is my frustration. "
I don't think you can watch the Star Wars sequels and be mad that they seem to have wasted the back story of the most interesting character. We really don't know much about where Finn came from, and he cannot act as a hero or as a Jedi.
Boyega, for his part, doesn't blame anyone and even gives JJ Abrams a break. He mentions that he didn't come back to save Disney until after the firestorm that was the last Jedi. But it's frustrating that we need this hero in a universe and then we lose him. He's not wrong about his other cast members either.
I know that they kept Oscar Isaac's character alive after trying to originally kill him and that his bow suffered when they lost the ability to make Princess Leia a key piece from the final chapter, but with such an important one Property would you think they'd pump up the brakes and make sure they got it right.
Kelly Marie Trans Rose was basically a wall lamp in the last film.
Boyega will next be featured in a picture of Steve McQueen and has his own company. So it will be interesting to see what projects he develops for himself in the years to come, but I think Disney should heed his message.
If you want to preach inclusivity, it can't just have faces in the crowd … it has to have essential stories that add nuance and breadth to the character's journey.
Only time will tell if you listen.