During a lengthy interview with GQ (his first major press-related discussion since the release of The Rise of Skywalker), actor John Boyega got extremely candid about his time spent on the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
“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 said, referring to his character Finn, a First Order Stormtrooper who ends up joining the Resistance. “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.”
Throughout the three movies (directed by a combination of J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson), Finn went from being a coward to learning an important lesson about fighting for a cause greater than himself. It was also implied that he was Force-sensitive, but while many of these things were set up in Force Awakens, fans of the series (Boyega included) feel that none of them were properly paid off for what they see as one of the most interesting and dynamic characters the franchise has ever birthed.
“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,” the actor continued. “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 isn’t shy about addressing hot cultural issues, went on to state that he was the “only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race.”
He added: “It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you. Because you realise, ‘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.”