Following John Boyega’s comments about Star Wars’ marginalisation of non-white characters, he’s confirmed that the matter has been raised with Lucasfilm.
John Boyega is having quite the year. Amid the turmoil of 2020, he’s made it his priority to challenge injustice wherever he finds it. Having already attacked social media racism online, Boyega then appeared live at a Black Lives Matter rally in June, making an impassioned plea against systemic racism, arguing that his career comes a distant second to being able to freely speak his truth as a black man.
He then took the bold step, in an interview with GQ a couple of months ago, of criticising the Star Wars franchise for sidelining the franchise’s non-white characters, instead giving all of the “nuance” to the saga’s white characters, chiefly Rey and Kylo Ren.
Whilst promoting his part in the upcoming Small Axe series of films by Steve McQueen on the BBC (via Deadline), Boyega spoke about how matters have transpired since that bombshell interview, so rare in an industry where maintaining positive public relations can be as important as someone’s acting ability.
When asked about how relations with Lucasfilm lie following the GQ interview, Boyega said “so I got on a phone call with Kathleen Kennedy [Lucasfilm President] and she verbally showed support and we got to have a really nice, transparent, honest conversation that is beneficial to both of us.”
Continued Boyega, “I think these kinds of conversations, you can go into the realm of sounding like you’re just trying to save your own career, but what is great now is that it is a conversation that anyone has access to. Now people can express themselves about this knowing that any character we love, especially in these big franchises like the Marvels and Star Wars, we love them because of the moments that they are given, we love them because of those moments, and they’re heroic moments that these producers all decide for these characters so we need to see that in our characters that are maybe black and from other cultures.”
You can catch Boyega’s turn in the Small Axe anthology on BBC iPlayer. The actor will next be shooting the science fiction film, They Cloned Tyrone, with Jamie Foxx and Teyonah Parris.
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