John Boyega has made it no secret that his experience working on the sequel trilogy with Star Wars wasn't a great one, as he played the Stormtrooper-turned-Resistance fighter Finn.
Although he keeps up with everything that Lucasfilm delivered post-The Rise of Skywalker, most recently sharing his thoughts on Disney+'s Obi-Wan Kenobi, he regularly looks back on his time with Lucasfilm without the fondest of memories.
One of his biggest points of contention is the lack of meaningful representation across the trilogy, even comparing it to recent Marvel projects that have done a much better job on that front on Disney+ and in theaters. And while things really took a turn for the worse in his last two Star Wars movies, there are even contentions Boyega has with 2015's Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which is almost unanimously seen as the best movie of Lucasfilm's final trilogy.
Fans will remember that Boyega's first movie actually ended with the tease that Finn may have gone down the Jedi route, with a moment where he wielded Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber in a short duel with Adam Driver's Kylo Ren. And according to the actor, this is something that he felt didn't come naturally in the story behind Episode VII.
John Boyega on JJ Abrams' Forced Jedi Twist
Speaking with MTV's Josh Horowitz, Star Wars actor John Boyega looked back at Finn's Jedi moment in Star Wars - Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
When asked how the Force-sensitive stuff was presented to him, he wasn't sure initially which direction things were taking in Episode VII before everything changed in the following movies.
According to him, director J.J. Abrams wanted Finn to be Force-sensitive in that movie, but after things changed in Episode VIII, Abrams still "wanted to...just force it in there" before the end when he returned for Episode IX:
Horowitz: “This is my last thing, because we haven’t spoken since Star Wars, how was the Force-sensitive stuff explained to you? Like was that only brought up when Episode XI came around, or like was it ever discussed in the previous films that Finn would be Force-sensitive?"
Boyega: “It was a discussion from VII that was kind of brewing, because you didn’t know which way it was gonna go, right? And then VIII went in another direction. So I think with VIII going in another direction, when you’re bringing someone to the third, they have to kind of like appreciate what’s happened in VIII and then still try and make a narrative of it. And JJ [Abrams], I mean JJ really wanted– Force Awakens is the movie that JJ directed, he was kind of pinpoint plotting a trajectory. But obviously with the different creative differences in the middle and then getting to the third, it’s kind of like he still wanted to you know just force it in there, just squeeze it in there."
He looked back to the moment between Finn and Jannah, where he admitted that he had to figure out a way to just make it work with the story:
"So that’s where you get the moment between Finn and Jannah, and Jannah asks him, ‘How do you know?’ And he just says, ‘It’s a feeling.’ He just had to get something in there that told you why there was a Stormtrooper who held his own long enough against a Sith… or Sith wannabe to a certain extent, you know, [with] Kylo. So it was interesting you know that when those talks were coming in the first stage. And I thought, obviously, you know, you get the lightsaber, you start swinging, and defending, and I’m like, ’Nah…’”
He compared it to "when Han (Solo) was holding it briefly" and had so much difficulty working the lightsaber, noting that Finn must have had something in him to be able to use it. And while he most likely won't return to the role, he's curious to see if this plot point is revisited with a younger actor down the road:
Horowitz: “Yeah, this could be right. This works.”
Boyega: “Yeah, yeah… last time I checked, you can’t even just swing that you know a certain type of way. When Han was holding it briefly, what did he do? He held it to like get the locks off or something. It was like manual labor. But you know, you’re just using it to defend and you know, you defend your friend, you must have something in you. But you know, who knows if maybe down the line, they have like a younger actor or whatever, and they try to expand on Finn. Who knows if we get that. You know, we get to see like what what is it about this dude that made him so special.”
Finn Plans in Flux Through Sequel Trilogy
With the sequel trilogy as a whole being a frustrating journey for viewers and creators alike, this only adds to John Boyega's contentions with what the story did with his character.
Even for all the success The Force Awakens brought, the Jedi tease for Finn and Rey certainly brought plenty of confusion amongst viewers at the end, especially when it was largely ignored with Finn's character development. This was only compounded when The Rise of Skywalker tried to almost undo everything that its predecessor did with the switch from J.J. Abrams to Rian Johnson, which jumbled the story even further looking back at the entire trilogy.
Since that trilogy ended, Boyega has continually expressed his disappointment at how his story progressed or didn't progress, as he felt left in the background while other characters like Rey and Kylo Rey got most of the shine. While he hopes to see this rectified at some point in the future, this Jedi twist will remain a sore spot for him as he will likely never get to see what could have been.
All three movies in Star Wars' sequel trilogy are available to stream on Disney+.