A Disney Exec and John Boyega Sat Down to Talk About Sidelined POC Characters

John Boyega as Finn in Star Wars Credit: Lucasfilm
John Boyega wants POC storylines to be inclusive and to matter. 

Earlier this year, John Boyega talked with GQ about his and other POC characters in Star Wars being marginalized.

If you need a refresher, he said, “It’s so difficult to maneuver [...]. You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything. [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. I’ll say it straight up.”

These were stern words that got Disney's attention. 

Disney recently asked Boyega to sit down with an exec there to hash out these remarks and make a plan for how the studio can make this better in future films. 

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter for a November story, Boyega expressed his annoyance at the situation. He said he had "a very transparent conversation” with a Disney executive who reached out about his Star Wars criticisms.

“There was a lot of explaining on their end in terms of the way they saw things," he said. "They gave me a chance also to explain what my experience was like. I’d hope that me being so open with my career, at this stage, would help the next man, the guy that wants to be the assistant DOP, the guy that wants to be a producer. I hope that the conversation is not such a taboo or elephant in the room now, because someone just came and said it.”

Hopefully, this marks an advancement of the stories we see in the Star Wars universe. 

Nuance and character development are really important not only for the story but for an actor's success. If you can never showcase who you are and your ability to take an audience on a journey, how can you expect to continue to be hired? 

How can you be inspired to take on new roles? 

Or get work headlining movies and build a career? 

These are systemic issues that need to be addressed across the industry. Kudos for Boyega speaking up and to Disney listening. 

Let's see what happens next.      

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Disney is always up to date and even more. Nice to see how they develop their projects.

November 4, 2020 at 6:32AM

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Alton Schaeffer
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