Starring in a Star Wars film sounds like a dream come true, right? But for actor John Boyega, who joined the franchise as the storm trooper-turned-rebel Finn, it was the exact opposite. The actor has made it clear on many occasions that he doesn’t look fondly back on his time when he was doing the trilogy films, as his character was a target of racially mistreated by Disney. And now, a new source has seemingly confirmed his comments.
First introduced in The Force Awakens, Finn’s once-promising character storyline was shunned to the sideline in The Last Jedi and The Last Skywalker, in favor of turning him into a side character and a comic relief while the other characters were given more importance. The actor has been pretty vocal about the injustice done to his character and spoken about the same many times. While Disney has never outrightly shouldered the blame, a recent Reddit thread from someone claiming to work on the Star Wars sequel trilogy film has confirmed that Finn’s character was indeed sidelined because it was played by a Black actor.
In the thread, the anonymous Redditor claims that Finn had “been a subject of controversy” at Disney. While JJ Abrams wanted John Boyega to play Finn in the Star Wars films, the Disney producers including Alan Horn were against the decision as they saw the casting as a “risk” and instead wanted someone like Ansel Elgort to play the character to be on the safe side. The fact that Abrams wanted Finn to be Jedi was another point that the Disney producers had trouble digesting as John Boyega was playing the character. In the end, Abrams was forced to dilute the character’s subplot in The Force Awakens.
Horn was also against the romance between Finn and Rey as according to him it was another risk factor that would harm the Star Wars franchise. So, in exchange, Abrams proposed to set up a romance between Poe and Finn which was denied as well and instead the director was pushed to make Poe and Rey romantic partners, something which Abrams refused.
While this information comes from an unverified source and may or may not be true, John Boyega has pretty much established that Disney did not treat a Black character the right way. In a chat with GQ magazine in 2020, he addressed Disney and condemned them for marketing a Black character like Finn as a diversity prop for Star Wars franchise by promoting him in a way that alluded that he was an important part of the franchise, only to go ahead and push him to the side. He frankly shared that while Disney may want him to be all praises for the production house and state that he had a great experience working for them, he will not lie.
But his grievances are only against Disney as he bears no complaints when it comes to Abrams and stands in solidarity with the director. It’s common knowledge that Abrams directed The Force Awakens and then stepped away from the franchise. Rian Johnson came in to direct The Last Jedi while Colin Trevorrow was brought in to helm Episode IX. After he parted ways with Lucasfilm over creative differences, the studio went back to Abrams and entrusted him with the task of bringing together the story of two very different films while creating an ending that effectively concludes the entire saga.