Despite playing a prominent role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, actor John Boyega’s life hasn’t changed too much. And while not being flogged by paparazzi has its benefits, Boyega also noticed how he’s treated differently from his costars.
While speaking with Variety about his new film Detroit, which focuses the racially-charged killing of three black men in 1967’s Detroit, the conversation shifted about how he was treated while promoting Star Wars.
“When I was exposed to the world in ‘Star Wars,’ I also was exposed to the reality of ignorance that still exists around the world,” Boyega said. “When I was in ‘Star Wars’ there was a semi, kind of racial discussion that was quite negative when it first came out.”
The actor was possibly referring to the reaction to the first trailer when the helmetless Stormtrooper Finn popped onto the screen, but Boyega also referred to his own personal treatment compared to his costars.
“I was the only person to always talk about the color of my skin,” he said. “In every interview my skin color comes up. If Daisy [Ridley] does an interview, her skin color is not going to come up. … It doesn’t matter what position you’re in — once you’re black, you’re black, and these idiots always have something to say about it.”
By bringing it up, Boyega is challenging the discourse surrounding his skin color. There are people on the internet who will be jackasses, but dealing with such questions on the red carpet or in interviews has clearly had an impact on the actor and are hurtful as well.
Those who pointed out his status as a black man on the press circuit for The Force Awakens just shouldn’t do that when the next movie comes out, and should keep in mind that skin color is not a qualifier.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters December 15.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the second film in the new Star Wars sequel trilogy that began with Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015. The film will deal with Luke training Rey to become a, and possibly the last, Jedi. Meanwhile, the Resistance, including Poe Dameron and First Order defector Finn, continues to fight against the First Order, led by General Hux, while Supreme Leader Snoke and his Dark Side follower Kylo Ren continue their mysterious plot.