John Boyega, who played Finn in all three Star Wars sequel trilogy films, has recently voiced his frustration on the way his and other characters were treated in the Disney-produced movies.
The crux of Boyega's argument is that some characters in these films, mainly those portrayed by actors of color, were "pushed to the side" while the nuance and character development was given to lead actors Daisey Ridley (Rey) and Adam Driver (Kylo Ren).
John Boyega has made no secret of his disappointment with the way the situation with the latter two sequel films were handled with regards to Finn and Rose Tico (played by actress Kelly Marie Tran).
Boyega spoke with Yahoo! Entertainment about a piece of concept art from Colin Trevorrow's unused version of the ninth and final film in Star Wars' "Skywalker Saga" as shared by Collider's Steve Weintraub.
Boyega says on the matter:
“I think Colin Trevorrow was going to tell that story. That image of Finn with the blue flag, and you have the AT-ATs lined up with tribal marks, and the stormtroopers take off their helmets. That would have been sick! That would have been dope, man, hands down.”
He further elaborated on his disappointment with Finn's role in The Rise of Skywalker and why he spoke out about it in recent months:
“I felt it was important for me to talk about a truth that is embarrassing to talk about. We all know that what makes roles so lucrative [are] the moments you give them. If Captain America isn’t given the scenes to boost his representation, and to make him enjoyable for you guys, we won’t think he’s cool. Why shouldn’t Black characters and Black actors also fight for that same kind of representation? I think it’s a done deal with that.”
WHAT THIS MEANS
John Boyega is far from the first Star Wars actor to express their issues with the sequel trilogy and Disney's supposed handling thereof. Mark Hamill has gone as far as to say he didn't look at his character in The Last Jedi as Luke Skywalker due to the way the character was portrayed in that film. And Oscar Isaac is certainly in no hurry to return to the franchise.
But back to Finn, and Boyega. The above concept art, which sees Finn triumphantly holding a flag while Poe Dameron, Rose Tico and Chewbacca rally behind him, presents a kind of "hero moment" that the actor feels was missing from the film.
It's hard to argue that Finn's overall role and involvement in the main story didn't dimish film after film. Not to mention that the reception of these sequel films among Star Wars fans has been nothing short of divisive.
Perhaps if Disney and Lucasfilm more evenly portioned out story beats amongst the characters, they would have found themselves with more of a critical hit on thier hands.
It's nearly impossible to say how these films will be viewed over time. After all, the once-much-maligned Star Wars prequel trilogy has found itself in the good graces of many fans in the past few years. Maybe in 10 or 15 years, the harsh reactions to The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker will have softened a bit. The amount of screentime and prominence each character was given, however, will remain unchanged.