John Boyega Calls Out Star Wars for Giving ‘All the Nuance’ to White Characters

Emily Tannenbaum
·3 mins read

John Boyega refuses to pretend his experience shooting Star Wars with Disney was equivalent to that of his white costars.

In a new cover interview with British GQ, the actor—who portrayed Finn, a rebel stormtrooper, in The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker—says that his character wasn’t given the same level of “nuance” as white characters were, and also that his time in the franchise changed his perspective on Hollywood. 

“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,” he said in the interview. “It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.”

He continued, “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. 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.”

<h1 class="title">STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, (aka STAR WARS: EPISODE VII - THE FORCE AWAKENS), from left: John</h1><cite class="credit">©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection</cite>

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, (aka STAR WARS: EPISODE VII - THE FORCE AWAKENS), from left: John

©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

One piece of advice Boyega also shared in the interview: “My dad always tells me one thing: ‘Don’t overpay with respect.’ You can pay respect, but sometimes you’ll be overpaying and selling yourself short.” 

If you think criticizing a major franchise like Star Wars is easy, think again. Boyega told the publication he sought therapy in 2017 for “horrible personality traits, [such as] anger,” before making peace with it.

“It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you,” Boyega explained. “Because you realize, ‘I got given this opportunity but I’m in an industry that wasn’t even ready for me.’”

He continued, "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.”

Following the release of the interview, Boyega took to Twitter to further explain his hopes for change. “These conversations and me sharing isn’t about a witch hunt,” he tweeted on Wednesday, September 2. “It’s about clarity to an anger that can be seen as selfish, disruptive and self indulgent. Obviously in hopes of better change. Bruh. In short, I said what I said. Love to you all seriously. Your support is amazing.”

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Originally Appeared on Glamour