Boyega could be referring to any number of things here — from being marketed as a true heir to the Skywalker legacy in The Force Awakens trailer and then having his involvement in the movie minimized in the marketing for other parts of the world because he’s Black to the way he was relegated to side character with the other actors of color in The Last Jedi.
Boyega has been particularly vocal in the past about his thoughts on the trilogy’s middle chapter. “I liked the idea of these characters being challenged and separated and stressed, like everyone’s just trying to get to each other – that excited me,” he told THR in 2019 while promoting The Rise of Skywalker. “But I will be honest in saying I think that they could have done better with it, especially with Finn and Rose [Kelly Marie Tran].”
His feelings haven’t changed since then. In the GQ interview, he points out Disney’s failure to highlight the trilogy’s characters of color in any meaningful way.
“Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver,” he said of the way the movies explored Rey and Kylo Ren’s stories versus Rose, Finn, and Poe’s. “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 fuck 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. 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.”
Indeed, by the end of the Sequel Trilogy, Finn is relegated to delivering funny quips with only a hint of a storyline that never coalesces and is mostly tied to Rey anyway. It seems that Naomi Ackie’s character Jannah can only exist as a part of the saga because she might be Lando Calrissian’s daughter. Oscar Isaac’s Poe is revealed to have been a drug smuggler at one point in his life, a dangerous stereotype often lodged at Latinx people (this Colombian writer knows). Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose never even gets to leave the Resistance base.
The franchise’s approach to creating a more diverse Star Wars galaxy on the big screen has so far been shallow at best. The way the film saga approached a “scene” meant to represent a LGBTQ relationship in The Rise of Skywalker is another shining example of how far Disney still has to go to catch up with the times.
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