John Boyega portrayed former Stormtrooper Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Following on from the trilogy ending with the controversial Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Boyega spoke candidly to GQ about his experiences as a Black man in a leading role in the Star Wars saga – among other things, including his impassioned speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in the UK.
Boyega commented on his time as Finn: ‘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’.
He went on to say that ‘you [Disney] knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver…but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know f-ck 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’.
Fierce, racist backlash followed the announcement that Boyega had been cast in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. On this experience, Boyega said: ‘I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race’.
Boyega has a series of projects lined up now that his time in the Star Wars franchise has come to an end – look out for him in Steve McQueen’s TV series Small Axe, releasing this November 13th.
You can also catch Boyega’s appearances in the Star Wars saga with a Disney Plus subscription now.