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John Boyega to Disney: 'Nah, Nah, Nah'

Actor critiques approach to minority characters in 'Star Wars'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2020 11:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – Racial inequality still bouncing around his brain, John Boyega is pointing fingers at Disney, the company that gave him his blockbuster role in Star Wars. Boyega's Finn, a recovered Stormtrooper, was a key player in 2015's The Force Awakens. But the series finale, The Rise of Skywalker, "failed to care about Finn's story," as Mashable reported in 2019. "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 tells British GQ in his first major interview since wrapping the franchise. "You guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver." But "when it came to John Boyega, you know f--- all," Boyega says, suggesting other non-white actors—Kelly Marie Tran, Naomi Ackie, and Oscar Isaac—suffered the same inferior treatment.

"They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley. ... Daisy knows this. Adam knows this. Everybody knows. I'm not exposing anything," he says in what Variety describes as an "explosive" interview. "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," says Boyega. He says he later sought therapy to deal with issues including anger. But "sometimes you just need to be mad," he says, turning to his viral moment at a London protest over the death of George Floyd, where he told the crowd "how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing." As he tells GQ, his father instilled in him a need to speak up against injustice. "You need to lay down what it is that's on your mind." (Read the full interview.)

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