Actor John Boyega says non-white Star Wars characters 'pushed to the side'

Boyega and actress Daisy Ridley attend the premiere of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker in London. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - British actor John Boyega has criticised the treatment of non-white characters in the latest Star Wars films, saying they were marketed as important elements in the franchise but were ultimately "pushed to the side".

In an interview published by GQ magazine on Wednesday (Sept 2), Boyega expressed bitterness over how his role as black stormtrooper Finn faded in the latter episodes of the trilogy which concluded with The Rise Of Skywalker in 2019.

"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," he told the magazine.

He said fellow non-white actors Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran and Oscar Isaac had suffered similar fates, while Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley had taken prominence in the lead roles as Kylo Ren and Rey.

"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 said.

Boyega, who is of Nigerian origin, became a viral sensation in June when he gave an emotion-packed speech at an anti-racism demonstration in London following the death of George Floyd at the hands of American police in Minneapolis.

"I'm the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race," Boyega said of Star Wars.

"Let's just leave it like that.

"It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you."

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