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Star Wars celebrates Black History Month with John Boyega homage after he called out ‘racial sidelining’

John Boyega at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere
Star Wars has celebrated Black History Month with John Boyega at the forefront (Picture: Getty Images)

John Boyega has become the face of Star Wars’ messaging for Black History Month, leading to a mixed response from fans. 

The British actor famously played Finn alongside Daisy Ridley as Rey in the most recent Star Wars trilogy, which ended in 2019. 

In celebration of Black History Month in the US, the official Star Wars Twitter account posted an illustration of John’s character Finn by artist Mel Milton. 

It also featured a quote from the artist, who is also Black, which said: ‘Storytelling is at the heart of being human and black representation in all media gives us the opportunity to feel like we are a part of the world we are living in. 

‘To be seen and heard more gives us a chance to feel like we are understood by those consuming our stories. 

‘Stories can show how a character can overcome struggles and conflict and to see someone like yourself in that story is a springboard for the imagination.’ 

Milton added: ‘Introduce that to an eager mind of a child and you inspire the next generation of story tellers and beyond. #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHistoryAlways.’ 

While the post was welcomed by some, many criticised Disney after John previously spoke about feeling he was ‘sidelined’ in the Star Wars franchise. 

One Twitter user commented: ‘Finn had the only interesting story arc. They saw that so they did him dirty and turned him into a joke so he wouldn’t overshadow Rey. They wanted the story to be about her but she was a poorly written two dimensional, character so they relegated Finn to comedy sidekick.’ 

Another weighed in: ‘That’s interesting. So if black representation is Sooooo important then why was boyega’s picture minimized in the China poster? Also finn’s story was tossed into the back burner after TFA. I was looking forward to seeing a great story arc about an ex stormtrooper.’ 

John Boyega as Finn in Star Wars
John played Finn in the latest Star Wars trilogy (Picture: Lucasfilm/Disney/Kobal/Rex)

Hurling further criticism at Finn’s character development, one said: ‘You turned a potential Jedi and the most interesting character since Boba Fett, into a joke. Boyega is a fantastic actor who gave the role his all, even when he could see what a tragic mess your team made of the character. Now you hold him up as a beacon of Black representation.’ 

John, 28, previously criticised Disney for the way his character was handled and told GQ: ‘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. 

‘Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver. 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.’ has contacted LucasFilm for comment. 

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