John Boyega Says Disney Didn't Know What to Do With 'Star Wars' POC Characters

John Boyega has opened up about how he felt sidelined by the Star Wars franchise because Disney did not know what to do with characters of color.

In a deeply frank interview, the 28-year-old British actor spoke freely and honestly about how being cast as Stormtrooper Finn in the franchise wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

"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," Boyega told GQ. "It's not good. I'll say it straight up."

Boyega's Star Wars experience started back in 2014 with J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens as Stormtrooper, Finn.

However, his role in the two sequels—The Last Jedi in 2017 and The Rise of Skywalker in 2019—were significantly reduced, with many viewers noticing the Jedi's purpose became little more than a sidekick to Daisy Ridley's Rey.

This reduced agency and autonomy from his character was not what fans saw from Finn in the first installment.

John Boyega
John Boyega attends the premiere of Disney's "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" on December 16, 2019 in Hollywood, California. Ethan Miller/Getty/FilmMagic

Boyega references his colleagues of color, Naomi Ackie and Kelly Marie Tran, and even Oscar Isaac, who he also feels were relegated to bit parts to make way for the likes of Ridley and Adam Driver as franchise heavyweights.

Tran, who the first woman of color to have a lead role in a Star Wars film was forced to leave social media due to the online harassment she suffered when she was cast as Rose Tico.

So Boyega feels the character hierarchy of The Last Jedi was particularly hard to stomach, as the plots elevated Rey and Kylo Ren.

"Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley [Rey], you knew what to do with Adam Driver [Kylo Ren]," he said.

"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."

He added: "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 references the backlash that came from some racist Star Wars obsessives who felt a Stromtrooper could not be black, leading to death threats in his Instagram DMs.

"I'm the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race," he said. "Let's just leave it like that. It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you. Because you realize, 'I got given this opportunity but I'm in an industry that wasn't even ready for me.' Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it]."

He added: "Nobody else had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying, 'Black this and black that and you shouldn't be a Stormtrooper.' Nobody else had that experience. But yet people are surprised that I'm this way. That's my frustration."

Newsweek has reached out to Disney and LucasFilms for comment.