Star Wars actor’s remarkable Disney diss
Star Wars actor John Boyega has ripped into Disney in an explosive interview, claiming he was "pushed to the side" because of his race.
The 28-year-old, who played Finn in the rebooted films, made history in the 2015 blockbuster The Force Awakens as the first ever black stormtrooper - a monumental step forward that Disney marketed heavily at the time.
But five years later and the British-Nigerian actor has revealed it was all a facade in an intense interview with British GQ.
"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.
"It's not good. I'll say it straight up."
Boyega's role of Finn was prominent in the first film, however his storyline dwindled considerably in The Last Jedi (2017) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019).
He says his main co-stars Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley, who played Kylo Ren and Rey respectively, didn't suffer the same fate.
"Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver," Boyega told the publication.
"You knew what to do with these other people, but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), when it came to John Boyega, you know f**k y'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. 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 referenced Tran, who made her debut as Rose Tico in The Last Jedi and was the first woman of colour to be cast as a lead role in the franchise.
But Tran, who is of Vietnamese descent, was forced to delete her social media posts in 2018 due to overwhelming racial slurs on her Instagram. She later penned a column for the New York Times saying she became so self-conscious during this period of hate and started to believe the comments about her.
Boyega said he also received vile social media attacks when he rose to prominence.
"I'm the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race," he said. "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.'"
The actor participated in a Black Lives Matter rally in London in June following the death of George Floyd, admitting the hate he'd received had changed his persona.
"Let's just leave it like that. It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you," Boyega said. "Because you realise, 'I got given this opportunity but I'm in an industry that wasn't even ready for me.'"
"Nobody else had that experience but yet people are surprised that I'm this way. That's my frustration."
The Rise of Skywalker, which was released in December last year, marked the final chapter of the nine-part Skywalker saga that began in 1977, and the third instalment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Originally published as Star Wars actor's remarkable Disney diss