boyega star wars finn

Maybe Let John Boyega Speak for Himself and Don’t Inflict Your Opinions on Him

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The press tour for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker truly is something else. As many fans remember, both Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley were run off of social media because of how fans of Star Wars treated them when it came to previous installments in the franchise. John Boyega, who plays Finn in the new trilogy, on the other hand, is very vocal and open on his social media accounts, but when asked about that, his response (which was in reference to his own feelings about fandom and the internet), came off as if Boyega was insulting one of his costars who was attacked online to the point of deleting her accounts.

In an interview with Variety, Boyega was asked about being online and, while Kelly Marie Tran was referenced in the question, he did not mention her in his response. The question was about online engagement, and the interviewer used Kelly as a reference point to the dark side of online fandom. Boyega’s response is what had many on Twitter talking:

Being in this position, you just understand the masses, how the masses think, you know. Through social media, we get to engage, we get to have fun. But at the same time, for those who are not mentally strong, you are weak to believe in every single thing that you read. That’s, you know, it is what it is. I don’t know, for me anyway, when I see that [backlash], I’m like, well, that’s actually not true. But no, it is actually not true. So it’s kind of like [shrugs] it is what it is. But to engage, to connect with the fans who otherwise wouldn’t get a day to day experience, especially during things like the press tour, and behind the scenes stuff, is always good.

As he points out in a tweet apologizing for the comment, he was only talking about his own experience online and how he has to cope with the fanbase and social media.

To further clarify, Boyega followed up by saying that his feelings on the online harassment that Tran received are the same as a tweet he sent back when it was happening.

The tweet in question was about the harassment that stars of the series get from fans, and Boyega stated that it is out of the control of the actors/actresses bringing these characters to life.

What we can all learn about this is that yes, we should question responses like this because, if there wasn’t a question as to why he said this, he probably wouldn’t have felt the need to clarify, and he most definitely should have. But I also think that there is certain a level of anger people have for anyone in the public eye that allows comments like this to be taken away from them and used against them. Did John Boyega mean that Kelly Marie Tran is weak? No, he was speaking about himself.

I think what we can do is constructively ask questions as interviewers that clarify the points these actors are trying to make and not use their words against them so that the internet can start an attack—especially when John Boyega was one of the few actors in Star Wars to stand up for Kelly Marie Tran when everything was going down.

(image: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.