If there was anyone who encompassed speaking truth to power without fear of consequences this year, it’s Star Wars actor John Boyega. The star has been increasingly vocal about the racist attacks he has faced as well as the systemic mistreatment of characters of color in major franchises following his successful yet tumultuous time with the Disney blockbuster. And his latest revelation further adds more clarity to the situation.
In an interview with the BBC, Boyega explains that he and Lucasfilm producer Kathleen Kennedy had a “really nice, transparent, honest conversation” that was beneficial to them both. Deadline reports further details on Boyega’s talk here:
I think these kinds of conversations, you can go into the realm of sounding like you’re just trying to save your own career, but what is great now is that it is a conversation that anyone has access to. Now people can express themselves about this knowing that any character we love, especially in these big franchises like the Marvels and Star Wars, we love them because of the moments that they are given, we love them because of those moments, and they’re heroic moments that these producers all decide for these characters so we need to see that in our characters that are maybe black and from other cultures.
Back in September, the British-Nigerian star also kept it a buck with GQ regarding the lack of nuance given to both his and other characters of color in the Star Wars trilogy. “It’s so difficult to maneuver, you get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything. [But] 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 continued, “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.” Whew, air it out then, John. We stan!
Boyega can be seen next in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe, exclusively on Amazon Prime Nov. 29.