LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 04: John Boyega poses in the IMDb Exclusive Portrait Studio at the 2023 Critics Choice Celebration Honoring Black, Latino & AAPI Achievements at Fairmont Century Plaza on December 04, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

John Boyega Will Not Play Your Favorite Black Characters in Major Franchises. Leave Him Alone.

Reality check.

With Walt Disney Studios letting go of Jonathan Majors following his trial, the internet is split on what’s to happen with Majors’ Marvel character Kang, as he was set up as the big bad for a multi-phase arc. Those in the “recast” camp have thrown around John Boyega’s name once again.

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This is not the first time audiences have fan casted the British actor—even for a recast. For one, despite Boyega’s growing, diverse portfolio, many people still see him as Finn in Star Wars—both in the way that he’s an earnest helper and in the way that actors unknowingly adopt the role as mascot for major franchises. Secondly, I have a slight suspicion that people just don’t watch enough projects starring Black actors to name more than a handful. This isn’t a slight against MCU fans; this is for everyone. Boyega is very talented, but I doubt he wants to be the Black face for people who don’t interact with Black art.

Following the passing of Chadwick Boseman, Boyega’s name was making the rounds as a popular recast option. The same thing happened when the rumors indicated the next James Bond might be Black. Though, with the James Bond speculation, Idris Elba remains among the most discussed fan casts. The most recent fan cast for Boyega is Marvel’s Kang the Conqueror. Back in November, when asked on X (formerly Twitter), Boyega made it very clear he’s not interested.

Now, in 2022, Boyega did express interest in joining the MCU at some point. However, in 2022, he told Men’s Health “that’s not in the vision for me now.” He wants to work on indie films and projects with “new, fresh ideas.” While he didn’t mention his experience with Star Wars, I’m pretty sure that toxic fandom experience is not something he’s looking to run back to—regardless of the check size.

Let’s broaden our horizons, yeah?

Boyega is still tagged across social media by racists who want him to know how much they hate him and Finn—as if a Black man (and a white woman lead) is what was wrong with the final three movies in the Skywalker Saga. These people exist within the MCU fandom. They’re a loud minority, but they’re very loud. The Venn diagram of people who hated Finn and Rose Tico in Star Wars and Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel haters has a lot of overlap.

The only thing worse than these people are those who go after children. I’m thinking of the fan racism directed towards Katie Leung (Harry Potter), Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games), and now, Leah Jeffries (Percy Jackson).

So, no, Boyega’s not going to be Kang, and that’s okay! He’s still had a lot of other works that released in the last few years. He starred in an episode of Steve McQueen’s anthology Small Axe, “Red, White and Blue.” His supporting role in The Woman King was fun. (Something about him in that indigo, lounging robe made me understand why the girls swoon for him.) Also, don’t sleep on his summer ensemble piece with Teyonah Parris and Jamie Foxx: They Cloned Tyrone! Do you have a family member that only cares about WW2 films? Turn on World War II: From the Frontlines this holiday and watch it with them because Boyega is the narrator.

(featured image: Michael Rowe/Getty Images for IMDb)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.