John Boyega discusses Star Wars backlash and defends Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

In a candid new interview, John Boyega has opened up about the Star Wars franchise for the first time since The Rise of Skywalker arrived in cinemas, the actor explaining how Finn was sidelined and also backing director J.J. Abrams.

“Everybody needs to leave my boy alone,” Boyega told GQ of the response to Abrams, who was heavily criticised for the way he dealt with Episode 9. “He wasn’t even supposed to come back and try to save your shit.”

It’s Boyega’s arc as Finn – from leading man in Star Wars: The Force Awakens to seeming afterthought in The Last Jedi and beyond – that the actor takes most umbrage with.

“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,” Boyega said.

“Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver,” he 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 fuck all. 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...’ … I’ll take that deal when it’s a great experience. 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.”

Boyega has previously spoken about his unhappiness with how The Last Jedi transpired. “I didn't necessarily agree with a lot of the choices in that,” he said of the Rian Johnson-directed movie.  “It was hard for all of us, because we were separated,” he continued, referring to Ridley’s Rey spending the majority of the movie with Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker while he and newcomer Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) headed off to the casino planet of Canto Bight in a separate arc.

Boyega, fresh off his impassioned speech during a Black Lives Matter protest, is next set to appear in Netflix thriller Rebel Ridge.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.