John Boyega Opened Up About Being Sidelined By Disney In “Star Wars” Because Of His Race

    "They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley."

    In a new interview with GQ, actor John Boyega opened up about his experience working on the Star Wars franchise, saying his character was "marketed to be much more important than it was" and then pushed aside.

    Jesse Grant / Getty Images

    Calling his feelings about the franchise "difficult to manoeuvre," Boyega went on to say that the way his character was treated was "not good".

    Walt Disney Studios

    "You get yourself involved in projects and you're not necessarily going to like everything," Boyega admitted. " [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," he added. "I'll say it straight up."

    And, Boyega says, the same can be said for the treatment of Kelly Marie Tran, Naomi Ackie, and Oscar Isaac's characters.

    Walt Disney Studios

    "You guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver," he told GQ. "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."

    Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images

    "They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley," Boyega continued. "Let's be honest. Daisy knows this. Adam knows this. Everybody knows. I'm not exposing anything."

    "What they want you to say is, 'I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience,'" Boyega said. "Nah, nah, nah. I'll take that deal when it's a great experience."

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    Later in the interview, Boyega admitted that his experience on Star Wars changed him, making him "much more militant".

    Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

    "It makes you angry with a process like that," he explained. "It makes you much more militant; it changes you. Because you realise, '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 went on. "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."

    In a tweet following the publication of the interview, Boyega said his words weren't supposed to be a "witch hunt", but simply a hope for change.

    These conversations and me sharing isn’t about a witch hunt. It’s about clarity to an anger that can be seen as selfish, disruptive and self indulgent. Obviously in hopes of better change.Bruh. In short. I said what I said. Love to you all seriously. Your support is amazing ! ❤️

    "It's about clarity to an anger that can be seen as selfish, disruptive, and self-indulgent," he wrote. "Obviously in hopes of better change."

    You can read John Boyega's GQ cover story in full here.

    Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Bate at eleanor.bate@buzzfeed.com.

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