*John Boyega criticized Disney in an interview with British GQ in September for profiting off ethnic actors before pushing them to the sideline.
He was referring specifically to his character initially being hyped for 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” only to be cast aside in the final film, “Rise of Skywalker.”
“You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything,” he told British GQ magazine. “[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.”
Critics have also slammed the studio for ignoring Boyega’s Finn character in “The Rise of Skywalker.”
“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 fuck all,” he said. “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.”
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) November 2, 2020
Disney reportedly responded to the criticism, as the actor he revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that an executive reached out to him to have “a very honest, a very transparent conversation” about the handling of non-white characters in the Star Wars franchise.
“It was a very honest, a very transparent conversation,” Boyega said. “There was a lot of explaining on their end in terms of the way they saw things. They gave me a chance also to explain what my experience was like.”
Boyega is hopeful that the conversation will prove beneficial for people of color in the film industry.
“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,” he said. “I hope that the conversation is not such a taboo or elephant in the room now, because someone just came and said it.”