John Boyega Criticizes Disney for Mishandling 'Star Wars' Characters of Color

In a new interview, 'Small Axe' star John Boyega goes deep on all the problems associated with his 'Star Wars' character Finn, as well as others.


Image via Getty/WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto


For his first major interview since wrapping up his time in the Star Wars universe, John Boyega—who will soon be seen in Steve McQueen's upcoming Small Axe series—said what's long needed to be said about the franchise.

The resulting piece from Jimi Famurewa, out viaBritish GQ on Wednesday, is an enthralling and truly candid must-read that sees the actor addressing the franchise's noteworthy shortcomings, including how the latest trilogy's story failed his character Finn, as well as others who were introduced in the new films.

"You get yourself involved in projects and you're not necessarily going to like everything," Boyega, who last appeared as Finn in the 2019 Skywalker Saga closer Rise of Skywalker, 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 them pushed to the side. It's not good. I'll say it straight up."

As you'll recall, how Finn was treated in the storyline was a frequent source of criticism, particularly among the wave of less-than-stellar reviews that were launched upon Skywalker's release. But as Boyega explained in this latest GQ piece, these problems extend beyond Finn's place in the story.

"Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver," Boyega explained. "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 fuck 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."

Boyega added that "all the nuance" of the story was handed to Driver and Ridley, which is a fact of which they are also aware.

"Everybody knows," he said. "I'm not exposing anything."

Also in the interview, Boyega reflected on the widely reported racist attacks he received from so-called fans early into the process of joining the Star Wars universe. With the benefit of hindsight Boyega now looks back at that experience as a pivotal moment, not to mention one that he feels is still overlooked with regards to the larger conversation surrounding the franchise.

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

Boyega also discussed his recent inspiring appearance at a police brutality protest, that one time he was nearly robbed by a boat operator in Nigeria, his too-hectic 2017 slate, and much more. Read the full, far-ranging interview here, and if you choose not to and feel some commentary coming on, Boyega advises you to "pls pls let your top lip and bottom lip become one."

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