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John Boyega, ‘Star Wars’ Boss Had ‘Transparent’ Talk After He Complained Nonwhite Characters Were Marginalized

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy ”verbally showed her support,“ actor says following their call

John Boyega said he had a “transparent, honest conversation” with producer Kathleen Kennedy about race in the “Star Wars” films after he previously called out Disney and Lucasfilm for only giving “all the nuance” to the franchise’s white stars.

Boyega said he and Kennedy had a “really nice” phone call that turned out to be “beneficial to both of us.”

“These types of conversations, you can go into the realm of sounding like you’re just trying to save your own career, but what is great now is that it is now a conversation that anyone has access to,” Boyega told BBC. “Now people can express themselves about this knowing that any character we love, especially in these big franchises, the Marvels or the Star Wars, we love them because of the moments they are given, we love them because of those moments, and they’re heroic moments that these producers all decide for these characters. So we need to see that in our characters that may be Black and from other cultures.”

In an interview with British GQ from September, Boyega said that the studio didn’t know what to do with its people of color stars and challenged the studio to not market their characters as more important to the story than they actually were.

“Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver,” he told the magazine. “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– 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…’ Nah, nah, nah. 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’s recent outspokenness about race follows an impassioned, powerful speech he gave at a Black Lives Matter protest in the U.K. in which he feared if he would still have a career after speaking.

Boyega talked with BBC on behalf of a biopic from director Steve McQueen called “Red, White and Blue” in which he plays a police officer named Leroy Logan who wants to change racist attitudes from within. The BBC interview also revealed that the real Leroy Logan was in the crowd when Boyega gave his speech.

You can watch the full interview with the BBC here and below, and check out the trailer for “Red, White and Blue” above, which opens on Amazon Prime on December 4 as part of McQueen’s “Small Axe” anthology.