John Boyega: Disney Shoved POC Actors Aside in ‘Star Wars,’ Driver and Ridley Had ‘All the Nuance’
John Boyega has been outspoken in the past about the “Star Wars” braintrust sidelining his character Finn in the sequels to “The Force Awakens,” and in a new interview with GQ magazine he warns Disney about making the same mistakes in the future. Boyega points out the narratives featured in “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker” not only pushed Finn to the periphery, but also other minority characters played by Kelly Marie Tran, Naomi Ackie, and to a certain degree Oscar Isaac. Only Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver got “nuanced” storylines that were the story centerpieces.
“It’s so difficult to manoeuvre,” Boyega said. “You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything. [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.”
“Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver,” Boyega continued. “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. 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.”
While Boyega’s final “Star Wars” outing “The Rise of Skywalker” earned some of the most dismal critical reviews in the franchise’s history, the actor stands by filmmaker J.J. Abrams and alludes to the fact that the trilogy’s storytelling issues extended far beyond the director’s chair. As Boyega said, “Everybody needs to leave my boy alone. He wasn’t even supposed to come back and try to save your shit.”
Now that the “Star Wars” franchise is behind him, Boyega is moving on to leading roles in more dramatic fare. The actor will appear this fall in “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen’s anthology drama series “Small Axe,” and he’s got a leading role in the film “Naked Singularity” in the pipeline as well. Head over to GQ’s website to read more from Boyega’s latest interview.
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