John Boyega Slams Disney, ‘Star Wars’ for Pushing Aside Their Black Lead

John Boyega Slams Disney for Promoting a Black Character in Star Wars
John Boyega in ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.’ J Olley/Lucasfilm/Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock

Saying his truth. In a new interview with British GQ, John Boyega did not hold back about his experience working with Disney on three Star Wars films. The actor, 28, starred as Finn in The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker — and although he’s thankful for the opportunity, he’s not thrilled with his experience.

“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,” the England native said in the interview, published on Tuesday, September 2, referring to himself, as well as other people of color in the film including Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran and Oscar Isaac.

“Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver [in The Last Jedi],” Boyega said. “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–k 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.”

The Pacific Rim: Uprising actor said that he’s “not exposing anything” as both Driver, 36, and Ridley, 28, “knows this” information too.

Boyega stated that the Star Wars role was a “stepping stone” and he hopes that he doesn’t come off as bitter. Instead, he wants to highlight the changes that need to be made.

John Boyega Slams Disney for Promoting a Black Character in Star Wars Poster
Lucasfilm/Bad Robot/Walt Disney Studios/Kobal/Shutterstock

“I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race,” he stated. “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.”

Tran, the first woman of color to score a major onscreen role in the Star Wars franchise, also experienced bullying — so much so she had to delete her Instagram account, which was flooded with sexist and racist comments.

In 2018, she penned an op-ed for The New York Times, titled, “Kelly Marie Tran: I Won’t Be Marginalized by Online Harassment,” in which she detailed the racism she experienced growing up and shared she thought that was over.

“I want to live in a world where children of color don’t spend their entire adolescence wishing to be white,” the California native, 31, wrote. “I want to live in a world where women are not subjected to scrutiny for their appearance, or their actions, or their general existence. I want to live in a world where people of all races, religions, socioeconomic classes, sexual orientations, gender identities and abilities are seen as what they have always been: human beings.”

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