John Boyega opens up about racism and STAR WARS in a GQ Interview

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/04/john-boyega-opens-up-about-ra.html

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Interesting that he decried the sidelining of Kelly Tran yet also defended JJ, who is perhaps the person most responsible for sidelining her character in Rise of Skywalker. I’m not sure what to make of that. But I was personally disappointed that JJ and the Disney company at least gave the appearance that they were giving in to the internet trolls and haters by minimizing her character so much in the final film.

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There are elements of the last trilogy i enjoyed but overall the experience was frustratingly uneven because the overall story arc between all 3 movies seemed jury rigged. They probably had an outline of how they wanted the 3 movies to relate to each other but honestly it doesn’t read that way, each movie appears to be in direct conflict with the one that preceded it and they really needed someone like Kevin Feige in the Marvel films to oversee consistency.

I could speak at length with my issues with each separate movie and all of the dead-ended plot lines that were abandoned but it’s a done deal at this point. Disney really shit the bed with it, Rogue One was fantastic and Mandalorian, Rebels/Clone Wars are amazing and i just cannot understand how they managed to mess things up. I really dislike the prequel trilogies but i will commend Lucas for consistency, and while i might find the new movies more watchable i don’t have a lot of interest in revisiting them.

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Unfortunately, no they didn’t have a master plan and it really showed. It could have worked out well if it weren’t for the egos of different directors, but I agree with this article that explains why bringing back JJ for the final film was a mistake.

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Q: “Hey Rose, want to come on our latest adventure to save the galaxy?”

A: “I wish I could but I have… space homework. But rest assured I’m doing important things to further both the cause of the Resistance and the plot in general. End of dialogue.”

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Finn was supposed to be the Han Solo of the films - but he never really got the chance to be the hero - in the first trilogy - all the characters got to be a hero at one point or another. Ultimately they forgot that

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John Boyega is even more awesome in the real world than he is on screen. That man stands for something.

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Personally when I see movie or shows, like the last 3 Star Wars, shit the bed on flow from movie to movie (or season to season) I generally blame executive meddling. The best movies and shows are the ones with a vision beginning to end, ignoring notes from corporate, especially when the movie/show is a huge success.
That being said I’m excited and dreadful of Mando season 2, but it will not surprise me to see more baby yodas.

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Love Boyega and his cause, but I don’t quite get the part of “Adam and Daisy stole the show!”… Perhaps my opinion, but they were the central characters? Looks to me like Dominic Monaghan getting angry because Elijah’s Frodo got all the attention instead of Meriadoc in LotR.

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Except that both Finn and Rose were introduced as major characters only to have their stories completely sidelined when the filmmakers realized they didn’t know what to do with them.

Finn was literally the first character shown on screen in the teaser trailer for the new trilogy, he certainly didn’t start off as a minor supporting character whose role was confined to pointless side missions.

As for Rose, she got less screen time in the third movie than a talking desk lamp.

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Boyega was one of the best things about the new trilogy for me – truly engaging, movie-star level screen presence. That Disney (and other filmmakers) didn’t recognise and take advantage of that fact just indicates how self-destructive racism is.

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Good topic but one minor nitpick; didnt the Asian actress who played Rose also receive harassment and death threats, or am I getting this mixed up with one of the many countless other incidents of 21st century racism?

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No, you’re correct, she was basically hounded off of Twitter shortly after Last Jedi came out.

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I definitely got a serious impression that capitulation was the major driver in ROS. There was so much blatant fan service, so much walking things back, and far more dropped threads and side lined characters than just Tran. I mean Abrams even dumped character archs and themes he’d started.

I do wonder how much of that was actually Abrams’ doing, or at least his preference. He was originally booked to produce all 3 films, but quietly dropped out after directing TFA. Once he wasn’t involved with Disney he made comments about having a terrible time making the film and referring to clashes and interference from Lucasfilm. There’s been some reporting about TLJ along the same lines, apparently the flick was completely rearanged late in post. And Abrams was picking up some one else’s project, late, and starting from scratch on a short time line.

Boyega’s comment sounds more along those lines, it’s not Abrams fault he did was he could. Or failed to fix a problem. Although I’d be more willing to believe he basically said fuck it, give then what they want, in an attempt to stop being the living embodiment of Satan for a very loud, threatening part of the internet.

From what I understand that was supposed to be Abrams. Direct the first, then hang around as the producer to support the other directors and provide that consistency. But he ducked out after the first one.

I never gave much credence to the innernets complaints about Kathleen Kennedy at the time. As so many of them were just more rote complaints about women being involved. But over time it’s become clear the current leadership at Lucasfilm has a real problem in their relationship with creatives and cast. It seems less like they didn’t have an overall plan, or people to oversee things, than they couldn’t keep anyone around to execute one.

Now that it’s over the cast is almost universally venting negatives about the experience. Many dating to the very first film, and often about Disney/Luca’s poor handing of all the harassment and lack of support for staff in the face of it.

FWIW, Kelly Tran allegedly filmed a bunch of scenes with a CGI’d Leia, but they all just looked so bad that it had to be trashed. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/star-wars-kelly-marie-tran-challenge-shooting-leias-scenes-1265421

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That is true. But I’d argue that Boyega’s experience was still unique, being the FIRST face to show up in the teaser when the new trilogy was announced.

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I’m not saying that Boyega’s experience isn’t unique or valid; I’m saying that his comment about being the only cast member whose experience with SW was tainted by racism isn’t quite accurate.

While it’s likely true that he caught the brunt of the hatred and harassment, it’s not okay to gloss over or marginalize the racism and misogyny directed at Kelly Tran.

That happened too, and it was also wrong; I’m capable of caring about both.

*edited for typos

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Abrams has a well-earned reputation for setting up intriguing mysteries only to reveal that he really had no more idea where everything was heading than anyone else. That’s why the latter seasons of Lost very much lived up to the series’ title.

He’s like a writer who pens the first third of a mystery novel, hands it off to another writer without telling them who the bad guy is, then rips that writer to shreds when they get the ending wrong.

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To me it felt like “she’s shit because she’s a GIRL!” but with added racism, whereas for John it was just the straight-up racism.

Just”, yeah, right… :grimacing:

Fucking Star Wars fans are so damn precious.

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That’s a good interview- it really gets across the way that John was let down by an experience that should have been his huge break in the industry. Instead he found himself overworked, facing abuse, and thoroughly fed up with the whole deal.

And it’s also clear, as people in this thread have been saying, that Disney contributed to this whole situation by not having a clear direction or story arc written out for their whole trilogy. Instead of a coherent story told over three films that all work as individual stand-alone works, they had three films all pulling in different directions, which had to be hammered into some semblance of an overall arc, and John was a victim of that process. He had to be the on-screen face of some of these unforced production errors, even as they were fumbling his character’s story.

It just seems that Disney couldn’t cope with the franchise, given the number of films that had to be extensively reworked and rewritten just to get them over the line and on screen.

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