Star Wars' John Boyega Explains Why Movie Franchises Could Be 'Luxury Jail' For Actors

By David Thompson Updated:
John Boyega beside Star Wars Poster

The idea of a turncoat Stormtrooper, introduced in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, gave fans a lot of excitement for the future of the franchise. John Boyega's FN-2817, aka "Finn," was a unique character that hadn't yet been seen before in a Star Wars film. How Finn's character ultimately played out through episode 7-9, however, has been criticized by fans and even Boyega himself.

Boyega's public disapproval lead to him having a "really nice, transparent, honest conversation" with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. Despite this seemingly positive interaction, Boyega has once again alluded to some of his displeasure working on Star Wars.


During a Q&A session for his upcoming film Small Axe, Boyega said acting in a big franchise can be like a "luxury jail" for actors:

"Being in a big franchise, it’s kind of like luxury jail sometimes for an actor when you want to do something else. Because remember, in a franchise you’re working on one character for many years, which can starve your other muscles.

Boyega expanded on his desire to play "a different type of man" and his curiosity of Small Axe director Steve McQueen's style:.

"And in wanting to be in something where I knew that I’d play a different type of role, a different type of man, and then knowing Steve through, we’re all a part of the same industry so I’d heard about Steve’s directing style, I was really really curious and excited to have the opportunity anyway to be a part of it. And when it came through I was on the tele like ‘this is my moment.'"


Boyega hasn't had many nice things to say about his time making Star Wars films since the Sequel Trilogy completed with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. He has gone on record expressing his interest in what original The Rise of Skywalker director Colin Trevorrow's version of Finn would've been, while also being critical of how characters were treated based on their race.

These comments, however, seem to show that Boyega was growing tired of playing the same character in one of the biggest pop culture franchises of all time. He mentions that working on a character for years can "starve your muscles." This may be especially true when you consider how each episode of the Sequel Trilogy was released two years apart; there wasn't much time for any actors to work on other projects. 

Fellow Star Wars star Harrison Ford is known for not always wanting to play Han Solo, wishing his character had died in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. So, how do other actors do it? For example, the MCU's Robert Downey Jr. played Iron Man for over a decade and was featured in nine films. Downey Jr. said that he "dug deep" to continue playing Iron Man for all those years. 

It seems even actors that enjoy how their character is treated and the movies they are in can find themselves trapped in this "luxury jail," as Boyega put it. 

- About The Author: David Thompson
As an editor, writer, and podcast host, David is a key member of The Direct. He is an expert at covering topics like Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and business-related news following the box office and streaming.