John Boyega Shares His Dual Reactions to the ‘Star Wars’ Reference in ‘Small Axe’

The actor said, considering the context, he was ultimately fine with the reference being included in Steve McQueen's anthology series.
John Boyega
John Boyega
Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection

John Boyega may not be appearing in any “Star Wars” films at the moment, but the franchise hasn’t left him yet. The actor, now courting talk of Emmy awards for his performance in Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” anthology, “Red, White, and Blue,” sat down with IndieWire’s Libby Hill to talk about the series and its brief reference to a galaxy far, far away.

Boyega said upon seeing the reference to being a “Jedi” in the script, he was initially taken aback. “I was more like, ‘Is this a moment where professional actors are supposed to come and say, ‘Oh, Steve, don’t you think this is a bit too much?'” Boyega said. “And then something in my brain said, ‘Do you actually even care?'”

The actor said, ultimately, he was fine with the reference being put in there considering the context. The film takes place around the release of “Return of the Jedi,” so it would have been on people’s minds and, funnily enough his character, Leroy Logan, dismisses the comment. He said in the moment it gave him pause, but he enjoys that it’s in there.

Based on a true story, Boyega plays Leroy Logan, an officer with the London Metropolitan Police in the early ’80s who went on to found the United Kingdom’s National Black Police Association in 1999, after years toiling to make serious policing reforms from inside the institution. “Red, White, and Blue” focuses on Logan’s early years on the force, his own family’s run-ins with systematic racism, as well as frustrations that Logan encountered when trying to move up within the organization.

During the interview, Boyega revealed the film was largely shot by the time the 2020 protests took place, making the piece even more timely than previously suspected. Reshoots, however, took place after the George Floyd incident and when Boyega returned to set, some changes had been made to the script.

“We went back to shoot ‘Red, White and Blue’ and the scenes that were added were scenes like when Leroy discovers the horrible stuff written on his door in the changing room and when he comes into the green room and confronts the rest of the officers about not backing him, that was all added after the reshoot period,” Boyega said. “And I don’t know, for me, it felt like I healed from being able to express that [anger] in that kind of scenario.”

You can watch the full video below.

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