Although no two days are the same in the godforsaken hellscape of any Star Wars offshoot fandom, they often share an unfortunate joining factor: the tendency to throw the entirety of Afro-futurism to the side and gripe about how Black people couldn’t possibly belong in the same world as Jar Jar Binks. John Boyega, the Star Wars: Force Awakens star who initiated the role of Finn, the first Black stormtrooper, knows these trials all too well. But in a new interview, he shares that watching other Black stars like Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Moses Ingram receive stalwart protection in the face of racist harassment doesn’t make him jealous or jaded—it makes him proud.
“It doesn’t make me feel bitter at all. It makes me feel like sometimes you are that guy, and my dad taught me that. Sometimes you’re not the guy to get the blessing and sometimes you are Moses,” Boyega explains. “You lead the people to the mountain, but you see the destination. You don’t get to go in, you get others to go in. And that’s where you get your happiness from.”
Like Boyega as Finn (or Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, or Krystina Arielle as someone who hosts a Star Wars show wherein she shares opinions,) Ingram’s role on Obi-Wan as lead antagonist Inquisitor Reva exposed her to a deluge of racist comments, some of which she revealed on Instagram. Although Boyega notoriously once described Disney as knowing “fuck all” about what to do with characters of color, he’s also willing to account for change. Boyega shares that watching both the studio and higher-powered white costars like Ewan McGregor stand up for Ingram now—even though Boyega himself was failed in the past—“fulfills” him.
“Moses Ingram being protected makes me feel protected,” he says. “It makes me feel like, ‘OK, cool. I am not the elephant in the room.’ Because when I started, it wasn’t really a conversation you could bring up. It was kind of like, let’s just be silent...But now to see how blatant it is, to see Ewan McGregor come and support… for me, [it] fulfills my time where I didn’t get the support.”