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John Boyega Says Disney Marginalized Black Characters in ’Star Wars’ Sequels

John Boyega has previously expressed his disappointment with being disregarded in the Star Wars sequels following his debut in The Force Awakens. Now, in an interview with British GQ, he’s suggesting that his fellow diverse major cast members experienced similar fates, while Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley’s white characters were given “all the nuance” by Disney in the later films.

“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,” he commented.

“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 added.

“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,” he continued. “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 also voiced his frustration about how his casting and work with Star Wars were usually recognized “through the prism of his race.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

“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,” he continued.

His exclusive interview comes months after he participated in Britain’s Black Lives Matter Movement. He gained nationwide praise and recognition following an impassioned speech in London, where he campaigned for change after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man.

“Sometimes, you just need to be mad,” he told GQ on the speech. “You need to lay down what it is that’s on your mind. Sometimes you don’t have enough time to play the game.”

The young actor will soon star in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe; an experience Boyega says what a positive one. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

“Steve [suggested] things I could relate to and comes with a creative mind like I’ve never experienced before…It reminded me of my happiest days at drama school. Being on set was like I’d been given the chance to breathe.”

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Cierra Jones

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