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February is Black History Month, which is observed annually in the United States. It's a time to look back on events of the past, while also recognizing the way racism affects us today. Disney recently took the time to commemorate the occasion by highlighting BIPOC characters in the galaxy far, far away while also commissioning a Black artist to bring them to life. Case in point, the post below featuring John Boyega's Finn.
Star Wars' sequel trilogy featured more women and actors of color, making strides in regards to representation. John Boyega's Finn was the first Black leading actor in the property, following in the footsteps of Billy Dee Williams' iconic Lando Calrissian. Finn was recently illustrated by artist Mel Milton, who also wrote about the importance of onscreen representation. You can check it out below.
I mean, how cool is that? John Boyega's signature character Finn looks thoroughly awesome in this illustration. And while his time in the Star Wars franchise might have come to an end, he's still a groundbreaker who is leaving behind a powerful legacy. At least until Boyega (hopefully) reprises his role sometime in the future.
The above image was shared on Disney's official Twitter account, and features a caption about the importance on onscreen representation. Plenty of experts have spoken about the importance of seeing one's self on screen. And as the conversation around this issue has evolved, Disney's properties like Star Wars and the MCU have gotten increasingly more diverse.
John Boyega's time in the Star Wars franchise is currently available on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.
When Star Wars returned to theaters with The Force Awakens, it featured a new trio of heroes that was surprisingly inclusive. A woman became the main hero with Daisy Ridley's Rey, while Oscar Isaac and John Boyega are Guatemalan and British-Nigerian respectively. Unfortunately, Boyega has recently been open about the negative side to playing the Stormtrooper turned Resistance leader.
After The Rise of Skywalker arrived in theaters, the cast has become much more open about what it was actually like working on the last three Star Wars movies. John Boyega has been particularly vocal about the racial backlash he faced following his casting, as well as the difficulties he faced as a Black actor. Furthermore, he expressed disappointment in where his character ultimately went, feeling like he was introduced as a major character before being pushed to the sideline.
Using his platform in this way ultimately allowed John Boyega to have a productive conversation with Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy about his experience in the galaxy far, far away. Hopefully this will affect how Black actors are treated in future projects. And considering how massive the Star Wars franchise is, there are going to be plenty of opportunities.
John Boyega brought a ton of charm to his three performance as Finn in Star Wars' sequel trilogy. Seeing him on the big screen was no doubt powerful for countless audience members who saw themselves in the young actor. Hopefully he can be convinced to return to the franchise in a few years.
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Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.