John Boyega Bravely Exposes Lucasfilm and Disney’s Problematic Treatment Of Minority Characters In Star Wars

In a recent interview, actor John Boyega gets honest about Disney's mishandling of Finn and other minority characters in the latest Star Wars trilogy.
Star Wars Finn John Boyega

Finn and Rey’s Unrequited Love Story

Star Wars Rise of Skywalker Finn Rey Poe John Boyega

From their first meeting, the chemistry and love between Finn and Daisy Ridley’s Rey was clear. In any other film series their love would have been consummated with a kiss, however in The Last Jedi, things took an unexpected turn. John Boyega’s Finn was separated from Rey for almost the entire film’s running time and they introduced a new minority love interest in Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico, as a distraction. Before ultimately doing the same bait and switch move with Finn in Rise of Skywalker, with Naomi Ackie’s Jannah.

This has not gone unnoticed by John Boyega who had this to say:

“Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver,” Boyega continued. “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**k all. So what do you want me to say?”

Star Wars Rose Tico Finn John Boyega Kelly Marie Tran

“What they want you to say is, ‘I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience.’ I’ll take that deal when it’s a great experience,” he openly admitted. “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.”

The most interesting part of his statements may be that Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley were aware of the imbalance in their characters’ development. It appears that John Boyega has had conversations about the trajectory of the story and the trio seems to be in agreement and less than pleased behind closed doors.

While Abrams arguably gave a nod to John Boyega’s Finn being Force-sensitive in The Rise of Skywalker, he didn’t prove to be a Jedi or earn the love of his life, who was clearly Rey. It’s hard to imagine the same scenario playing out if Zac Efron had been cast as Finn for example. However, as Boyega noted, you have to look no farther than the minority characters in the new trilogy to realize that their stories were mere afterthoughts in the film’s development.


Does this mean that Lucasfilm and Disney is an evil corporation bent on stunting the growth of social progress? Of course not. Disney has earned a reputation in recent years as a company that embraces diversity. However, there is more to progress than simple tokenism.

The Star Wars franchise has long paid lip service to diversity in the form of Skywalkers, Wookies, and droids, serving as true heroes. Yet, the last Star Wars trilogy represents a lost opportunity to truly be a trailblazer, by telling epic intergalactic stories with people of color in heroic roles. It seems that Disney and Lucasfilm has a reckoning on their horizon and it’s refreshing to hear the truth from one of the cogs in the Star Wars machine.

Finn John Boyega Lightsaber

Personally, the bait and switch of Finn becoming a Jedi was one of the most distracting and disappointing elements of the recent trilogy. In fact, as the series continued it was clear that the character was an afterthought and perhaps even a joke to those in power. Since Finn’s introduction we have seen the power that a minority hero can have to galvanize a community (and the box-office) in film’s such as Black Panther. We can only hope that John Boyega and other brave voices like him, continue to speak truth to power, so that stories of fantasy can truly show us how to be a more compassionate and inclusive society.

What do you think of John Boyega’s comments? Did you find Finn’s trajectory to be problematic or disappointing? Did you think he would become a Jedi or win Rey’s love? Let’s talk about it in the comment section and on Twitter!



Braxter Timberlake

Braxter Timberlake

Braxter Timberlake was born in New York and raised in California. He’s a graduate of UC Berkeley and the School of Hard Knocks and is always in search of the next adventure. The daring writer and editor of The Illuminerdi is also a veteran of film and television production, with an unquenchable thirst for stories, whether on the comic page, video game console, or small, medium, or the big screen. After years of expeditions in search of K’un-Lun and Wakanda, he now spends his time investigating all things geek and shares his spoilery findings with anyone with open ears. Aside from on the internet, he can be found on the basketball court, hiking with his dog, or at a screening near you.