Star Wars: Disney Executive Talked to John Boyega About Grievances

When Star Wars actor John Boyega spoke about his time about the franchise about Lucasfilm's handling of POC characters to GQ, a Disney executive reached out to have an open, honest, and transparent conversation. Promoting his upcoming anthology Small Axe, the actor opened up about his recent experience to The Hollywood Reporter. Boyega played Finn, a former Stormtrooper of the First Order who finds his way to a leadership role in the Resistance. In the original GQ article, the actor blamed Disney for propping up POC characters like Finn, Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), Poe (Oscar Isaac), and Jannah (Naomi Ackie) only to undercut them in the final film, The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

John Boyega attends the premiere of Disney's "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" on December 16, 2019 in Hollywood, California. Editorial credit: Silvia Elizabeth Pangaro / Shutterstock.com
John Boyega attends the premiere of Disney's "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" on December 16, 2019, in Hollywood, California. Editorial credit: Silvia Elizabeth Pangaro / Shutterstock.com

Boyega's Step Foward on Star Wars

"It's so difficult to manoeuver," Boyega told GQ earlier this year. "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." When describing the experience with the Disney executive, "There was a lot of explaining on their end in terms of the way they saw things," he continued. "They gave me a chance also to explain what my experience was like. I'd hope that me being so open with my career at this stage would help the next man, the guy that wants to be the assistant DOP, the guy that wants to be a producer. I hope that the conversation is not such a taboo or elephant in the room now because someone just came and said it."

John Boyega as Finn and Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). Image courtesy of Lucasfilm
John Boyega as Finn and Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

Boyega, in his explanation, maintains he isn't already exposing anything that isn't already common knowledge. "What do you want me to say?" Boyega told GQ then. "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." Boyega took his experience and formed UpperRoom Productions. "With my acting career and with my earned privilege, I'm just trying to use that to expand the opportunity, much like what we experienced with coming onset [on Small Axe]," Boyega says. "We were really shocked to be surrounded by Black individuals, people that otherwise I would never see on a film set." For more about Small Axe, you can read the rest at THR. The film anthology premieres November 20 on Amazon Prime Video.

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.

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