Remember when the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer first came out? Everything seemed copacetic, but then there was that backward slice of the fandom that was wondering why John Boyega’s Stormtrooper character, Finn, was black. (Some close-minded commenters insisted the Stormtroopers had to be an army of all-white clones.) Boyega initially responded to the racist questioning and disapproval with a succinct “Get used to it,” on Instagram. But in a recent interview with V Magazine, the actor elaborated, saying, “[The negativity] was unnecessary … I’m in the movie, what are you going to do about it? You either enjoy it or you don’t. I’m not saying get used to the future, but what is already happening. People of color and women are increasingly being shown on-screen. For things to be whitewashed just doesn’t make sense.”
The Attack the Block actor pointed out that his past films especially have “had a secret commentary on stereotypical mentalities.” “It’s about getting people to drop a prejudiced state of mind and realize, ‘Oh shit we’re just watching normal people.’”
Boyega also used the interview to dish about his character’s unique narrative (“We’ve seen him in the Stormtrooper outfit and his own clothes. Why is that?”), as well as how he, personally, has been coping with the catapult to larger visibility within the public eye. “I’m being mentored by Robert Downey Jr. at the moment,” he noted. “He’s helped me prepare for how my life is going to change and that has been inspiring. I’m talking to someone who understands the power of choices, both positive and negative.” Star Wars comes out December 18 — i.e., not at all soon enough, but you can read the full V piece here for the meantime.