Disney put the Star Wars films on hiatus after the polarizing The Rise of Skywalker of conclusion, but based on John Boyega’s recent comments from a GQ cover story, there is a good chance he won’t be back, and he is okay with that.
Boyega kept his promise that following The Rise of Skywalker’s release, he would keep it one hunnit in regards to how he felt about the franchise and it’s out of pocket fans by throwing shade at Disney and subtle jabs at the Star Wars sequels. Boyega kept that same energy and got very candid with the publication.
In the cover feature, the actor voiced his displeasure at how his character Finn was “pushed to the side” following his promising debut in The Force Awakens. He also said that the house of the mouse instead gave “all the nuance” to his white co-stars Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver’s white characters.
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During Britain’s Black Lives Matter rallies in June, #JohnBoyega wrote his name in the history of racial justice. Here, in his first interview since finishing #StarWars and that unguarded address from a Hyde Park stage, our October cover star explains how both platforms inspired him to make a stand, but for very different reasons. LINK IN BIO for the full interview with @jimfamished. Photography by @dannykasirye. Styled by @luke_jefferson_day. Creative Direction by @paulsolomonsgq. // #GQ Editor @dylanjonesgq
Boyega even stood up for his fellow castmates, Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran, and Oscar Isaac, stating they too suffered the same treatment as well in the Star Wars sequels.
“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.”
Boyega voiced his frustration with the idea that he was supposed to just sit back and enjoy the intergalactic ride and not say anything about the treatment of the film’s diverse cast members.
“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.”
Boyega then pointed out that Driver and Ridley, whom the film’s stories revolve around, didn’t have to deal with what the other cast members had to.
“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.”
One thing in particular that really grinds Boyega’s gears was the fact that race was always brought up when it came to his involvement in the franchise.
“I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race… 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.”
John Boyega clearly has time and is not biting his tongue for anyone. He has been very vocal about social justice matters and was most recently praised for his impassioned plea on behalf of the Black Lives Matter. We love this energy from Boyega and how consistent he is with it.
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"I saw vulnerability in a lot of black men's eyes that made me cry because you don't get to see that." Actor, activist and our October cover star #JohnBoyega speaks to @jimfamished about the Black Lives Matter movement, UK protests, life after #StarWars and his experiences as a black man in Hollywood at the LINK IN BIO. Producer & Editor @mateo.notsuke DoP @lloydwillacy Op @Kieranbrettt Sound Rec&Mix @tlbm_rec Stylist @luke_jefferson_day Junior Fashion Editor @angelomitakos Barber @eph_the_barber Hair stylist @brendafordhair MUA Natalie Abizadeh // #GQ Editor @dylanjonesgq
Photo: Mike Marsland / Getty