British actor John Boyega has expressed frustration over playing Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Finn, a former stormtrooper who defects to the Resistance, was the first lead black character in a Star Wars movie. After all the racist trolling he received for his casting, and the way his character was treated by the writers, it is safe to say the actor does not have any fond memories of the role.
While speaking to British GQ, Boyega said, “…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.”
He added, “…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 f*** 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.”
Kelly Marie Tran, an American actor of Vietnamese origin, was another cast member whose very presence in the franchise evoked the worst kind of online harassment. So much so that she had to deactivate her social media accounts.
Her character Rose was one of the major characters in The Last Jedi, the second movie in the trilogy, but was relegated to a brief appearance in the conclusion, apparently as a response to the backlash and trolling.
In June, John Boyega had led a protest in London in response to the death of African-American George Floyd. In a passionate speech, holding back tears, he said, “We don’t know what George Floyd could have achieved, we don’t know what Sandra Bland could have achieved, but today we’re going to make sure that won’t be an alien thought to our young ones. Today is about innocent people who were halfway through their process.”
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