John Boyega hits out at Disney’s treatment of his Star Wars character

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John Boyega has admitted he feels Disney pushed his Star Wars character Finn ‘to the side’ and ‘all the nuance’ was given to his white co-stars Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley.

The actor, 28, portrayed Finn, the franchise’s first black Stormtrooper, in The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker and told how he thinks Disney marketed his character as being ‘much more important’ to the franchise than he actually was. 

Speaking to British GQ, he said: ‘You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything. 

Honest: John Boyega, 28, has admitted he feels Disney pushed his Star Wars character Finn 'to the side' and 'all the nuance' was given to his white co-stars Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley

Honest: John Boyega, 28, has admitted he feels Disney pushed his Star Wars character Finn ‘to the side’ and ‘all the nuance’ was given to his white co-stars Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley

‘[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.’

Discussing his experience of being a black cast member in the films, John said feels his co-stars Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley were given more complex characters in comparison to himself or Kelly Marie Tran, who is of Vietnamese descent.

He said: ‘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**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. 

He said: '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'

He said: ‘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’

‘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.’ 

The film star also discussed his experiences with racism after he was cast in Star Wars, explaining how he was the only member of the cast who had people saying they were going to ‘boycott’ the franchise because he was in it. 

He said: ‘I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race. 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 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]. 

John said: 'I'm the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race. Let's just leave it like that'

John said: ‘I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race. Let’s just leave it like that’

‘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 also discussed his speech in Hyde Park at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in June following the death of George Floyd.

He said: ‘I feel like, especially as celebrities, we have to talk through this filter of professionalism and emotional intelligence. 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. 

Co-stars: John told how he feels his co-stars Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley were given more complex characters (pictured with Daisy in December 2019)

Co-stars: John told how he feels his co-stars Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley were given more complex characters (pictured with Daisy in December 2019)

John became emotional during his speech, which he said came from looking into the crowd and seeking his own fear mirrored back at him from other black men present. 

He said: ‘That just made me cry. Because you don’t get to see that.’  

Read the full feature in the October issue of British GQ available via digital download and on newsstands Friday 4th September.

Speech: John also discussed his speech in Hyde Park at a Black Lives Matter demonstration following the death of George Floyd, saying: 'Sometimes you just need to be mad'

Speech: John also discussed his speech in Hyde Park at a Black Lives Matter demonstration following the death of George Floyd, saying: ‘Sometimes you just need to be mad’

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