John Boyega has been increasingly outspoken in his views lately, using his considerable influence to discuss the matter of race in both Hollywood and society at large. In a new interview with GQ magazine, he lays bare his thoughts and feelings on how Disney treated characters of color, asserting that those in charge over-promised and under-delivered on the highly publicized diversity of the cast of the most recent “Star Wars” trilogy.
Additionally, Boyega doesn’t just speak for himself and his character of Finn, a former Stormtrooper turned good. He also includes other minority characters played by the likes of Kelly Marie Tran and Naomi Ackie in his allegation that Disney wantonly pushes people of color onto the periphery of the storyline.
“It’s so difficult to maneuver,” 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 criticisms are clearly aimed at Disney in general, it’s difficult to tell who exactly the actor holds responsible for the perceived wrongdoing. Though J.J. Abrams wrote and directed the final “Star Wars” installment “The Rise of Skywalker,” Boyega vehemently defends the acclaimed filmmaker.
“Everybody needs to leave my boy alone. He wasn’t even supposed to come back and try to save your shit,” Boyega states.
Given the harsh words that Boyega has levied against the House of Mouse, one shouldn’t expect the actor to appear in another Disney property anytime soon. However, Boyega is happily moving onto more serious, dramatic fare. He’s appearing this fall in director Steve McQueen’s anthology drama series “Small Axe” in addition to landing a leading role in the film “Naked Singularity.”