John Boyega: Disney Used My Race to Market ‘Star Wars’ Films and Gave ‘All the Nuanced’ Storylines to White Characters

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“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,” Boyega said in an interview with GQ magazine, claiming that the white characters were afforded “more nuance” than minority ones. “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 said of Star Wars producers, accusing them of ignoring his fellow actors Kelly Marie Tran and Oscar Isaac.

“You knew what to do with these other people,” Boyega continued, “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.”

John Boyega — who starred in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, and, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — added that Star Wars gave all the attention to the white characters, saying, “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 also claimed that he faced racism from Star War fans online when he went out on tour for the show, saying he was 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,” Boyega said. “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,” Boyega exclaimed.

Star Wars producers were accused of sidelining Kelly Marie Tran’s character in the final film, 2019’s The Rise of the Skywalker. However, producers later explained that Tran lost a few scenes because her character was in scenes interacting with the CGI version of Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia that were cut as the computer-generated effects just weren’t up to photorealism standards.

After his interview was published, Boyega defended himself from the backlashed he’s facing for criticizing the film that made him an internationally known actor.

“These conversations and me sharing isn’t about a witch hunt. It’s about clarity to an anger that can be seen as selfish, disruptive, and self-indulgent. Obviously in hopes of better change,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “In short. I said what I said. Love to you all seriously. Your support is amazing.”

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