John Boyega has always been open about the fact that his role in the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy was a complicated experience for him. On one hand, the franchise elevated him to international stardom and paved the way for him to take on more interesting projects. But he has also made it clear that being one of the first major Black actors in such a beloved series came with drawbacks.
The actor has often spoken out about what he felt was a lack of support from Disney when he dealt with racist harassment from fans, as well as his general dissatisfaction with his character having a smaller role than the films’ marketing materials often suggested.
“It’s so difficult to maneuver,” Boyega said in 2020. “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.”
Now, with the trilogy firmly behind him and a thriving film career that doesn’t see him tied to the franchise anymore, Boyega appears to be more introspective about the experience. In a new interview with The Times, Boyega explained how he has made peace with the franchise.
“For me ‘Star Wars’ has made the man, in a sense,” he said. “The experiences, the fun times, good times, ugly times, bad times, it makes you who you are as you navigate through the industry, and that has definitely been interesting.”
He went on to say that many of his narrative grievances regarding his character’s relevance to the story were rectified by JJ Abrams’ conclusion to the trilogy, “The Rise of Skywalker.” He added that his satisfaction with the end of the story has made him more comfortable enjoying Disney’s subsequent “Star Wars” projects as a fan.
“I feel like the arc that JJ tried to tie up, that’s where I feel comfortable with the release of him,” Boyega said of his character. “And since then I’ve been able to enjoy, as a fan, ‘The Mandalorian’ and ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi.’ I’m enjoying the balance of all things.”