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John Boyega Met with Disney Exec for ‘Honest’ Discussion About ‘Star Wars’ Sidelining POC Characters

Boyega advised Disney never to market Black film characters as important and then sideline their narratives.

"Star Wars"

John Boyega in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

Disney

John Boyega says in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter that a Disney executive reached out to him following his September GQ interview in which he criticized the studio for its treatment of POC characters in the most recent “Star Wars” trilogy. Boyega starred in three “Star Wars” films as Finn, while Kelly Marie Tran debuted as Rose Tico in “The Last Jedi.” Both characters had been largely sidelined from the main story by the third film in the series, “The Rise of Skywalker.”

“It’s so difficult to manoeuver,” Boyega told GQ earlier this year. “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.”

Talking to THR for their November cover story, Boyega said he had “a very honest, a very transparent conversation” with a Disney executive who reached out about his “Star Wars” criticisms. The actor added, “There was a lot of explaining on their end in terms of the way they saw things. They gave me a chance also to explain what my experience was like. I’d hope that me being so open with my career, at this stage, would help the next man, the guy that wants to be the assistant DOP, the guy that wants to be a producer. I hope that the conversation is not such a taboo or elephant in the room now, because someone just came and said it.”

In criticizing “Star Wars” earlier this year, Boyega explained how the franchise’s creative team knew what to do with Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver’s character’s storylines but not with his and Tran’s. “What do you want me to say?” Boyega told GQ. “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 next stars in Steve McQueen’s Amazon film anthology series “Small Axe.”

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