John Boyega Criticizes ‘Star Wars’ Saga For Having Characters Of Colour ‘Pushed To The Side’

John Boyega isn’t mincing words about his “Star Wars” experience.

In a candid October British GQ cover story, the “Rise of Skywalker” star gets real about his experience on the blockbuster franchise set in a galaxy far, far away.

“You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything,” he says. “[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.”

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In “The Force Awakens”, Boyega played Finn, a stormtrooper who has a change of heart, teaming up with Daisy Ridley’s Rey to explore the galaxy and bring down the First Order. In the subsequent sequels, Finn was relegated to a more secondary role in the series.

“Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver,” Boyega says of the series. “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. 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.”

John Boyega. Photo: Danny Kasirye for British GQ
John Boyega. Photo: Danny Kasirye for British GQ

The 28-year-old also addresses the racist reaction from many “Star Wars” fans when his casting was announced.

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

With the release of the cover story, Boyega also took to Twitter to stand by his comments and advise people to read the full article before speaking their mind.

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In the article, the actor also talks about the impassioned speech he gave at a Black Lives Matter rally in Hyde Park, London, which went viral in June.

“I feel like, especially as celebrities, we have to talk through this filter of professionalism and emotional intelligence,” Boyega says. “Sometimes you just need to be mad. You need to lay down what it is that’s on your mind. Sometimes you don’t have enough time to play the game.”

He explained that the rawness of his speech came after seeing the looks of fear and weariness in the eyes of other Black men in the crowd.

“That just made me cry,” Boyega says, “because you don’t get to see that.”

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