British actor John Boyega has criticized the treatment of non-white characters in the later Star Wars films, saying they were marketed as important parts of the franchise but were ultimately “put aside”.
In an interview published by GQ magazine on Wednesday, Boyega expressed his bitterness over how his role as stormtrooper Finn faded away in the final episodes of the trilogy that ended with The Rise of Skywalker in 2019.
“What I would say to Disney is don’t bring out a black character, market them to be a lot more important in the franchise than they are, and then push them to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it right away, ”he told the magazine.
He said that fellow non-white actors Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran and Oscar Isaac suffered similar fates, while Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley rose to prominence in the lead roles of Kylo Ren and Rey.
Boyega told GQ that some people would accuse him of “making it up,” but the character hierarchy in The Last Jedi was hard to accept.
“They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley. Let’s be honest. Daisy knows it. Adam knows it. Everyone knows. I’m not exhibiting anything, ”Boyega said.
He said Star Wars didn’t know what to do with non-white characters.
“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… “No, no, no. I will accept this deal when it is a great experience. ”
Boyega became a viral sensation in June when he gave an emotional speech at an anti-racism protest in London after George Floyd was killed at the hands of US police in Minneapolis.
“I’m the only cast member who has had their own unique experience with this franchise based on their race,” Boyega said of Star Wars. “Let’s leave it like that.
“It makes you angry with a process like this. It makes you much more militant; it changes you. “
In his speech at the Black Lives Matter rally in London, he said: “Black lives have always counted. We have always been important. We always wanted to say something. We have always succeeded despite everything. And now is the time. I don’t wait.
In a social media post, Boyega added, “I know you’re all thinking, what’s next? Where do we go from here? Because I think the same shit! Conversations about black businesses, ownership, and support are ongoing, and I will continue to have these conversations with the full intention of spurring lasting, tangible ideas. “
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report