Like all Star Wars controversies, John Boyega's blunder is overblown

It's funny how nowhere near as much controversy besets the rest of the Marvel Comic Universe

James Moore
Thursday 02 January 2020 18:26
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Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Exclusive Interview With Billy Dee Williams & J.J. Abrams

Marvel supremo Kevin Feige never seems to get landed with this sort of headache – that was my immediate reaction to the latest Star Wars Twitterstorm.

In case you’d missed it, John Boyega, who plays Finn, made a crude joke on Instagram about the sex life of Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, in response to a fan who’d suggested that the death of his rival for Rey’s heart, baddie Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), left the way clear for him (or rather, his character). “It’s not about who she kisses but who eventually lays the pipe. You are a genius,” he wrote.

Yes, pretty crass. But I imagine Rey, were she so minded, could deal with it; perhaps with a lightsabre applied somewhere uncomfortable.

I say Rey, because some people seem to have got the impression that Boyega was talking about Ridley. He insisted he wasn’t, referencing the distinction between fictional character and real person. “Daisy knows she isn’t the character,” he responded on Instagram. “Lol so tbh she doesn’t give AF”.

But we have a full-blown Star Wars controversy on our hands all the same. Is that Dark Vader I hear chuckling?

It happened last time around too, when Rian Johnson tried to do something different with The Last Jedi and got strafed for his trouble, particularly from, shall we say, right leaning fans.

Feige seems to have dealt with far less controversy with the (much bigger) Marvel Comic Universe (MCU). There’ve been bits and pieces; this is Hollywood, after all. But for the most part the films come out, the critics offer polite applause, and the fans cheer rapturously.

Star Wars? Au contraire. As soon as anyone connected with it opens their mouths it’s light the blue touch paper and stand well back.

Maybe all the sound and fury is a function of the franchise’s age, and the age of those of us who grew up with it.

The MCU has been around for, what, eleven years? Star Wars is over forty. That’s plenty of time to establish firm ideas a few, dare I say it, prejudices and a crotchety temper.

We gen X-ers rather seem to have forgotten how to enjoy the ride along the way. Lucas’s poor prequels didn’t help.

Could it be that we’re forgetting something here? The franchise’s creator George Lucas always said that the Star Wars films were intended as kids’ films (before going on to patronise them with the dismal Jar-Jar Binks).

When I was a kid and A New Hope was the most exciting thing imaginable, romance was filed under “icky”, an unnecessary distraction from the action. Leia and Han? If you must, but get a room, for goodness’ sake.

Things have moved on since then, mostly in a good way. Many felt Kylo’s death was irrelevant to Finn’s chances of finding love. Oscar Isaac, for example, thought Finn should end up with his character, Poe Dameron. Luke Skywalker – sorry, Mark Hamill – vocally agreed.

“Luke never met either Finn or Poe. So what they do behind closed doors I guess I’ll never know...But I would like to also note that love is love.Whatever floats your boat. #LGBTeriffic,” he tweeted.

Gay or straight, doesn’t matter. The Ren-Rey-Finn-Poe love, erm, quadrilateral elicited a similar reaction from my 12-year-old, who gave The Rise of Skywalker, JJ Abrams’ conclusion to the Skywalker saga, only seven out of ten because of “too much romance”.

Ridley and Boyega now face a very real challenge. They have to find a way to separate themselves from their characters, something that didn’t prove easy for the first generation of Star Wars actors (with the exception of Harrison Ford), and may not for them, either, especially given they are relative unknowns.

The confusing of character with star that’s contributed to the latest fuss won’t help them there.

As for the final trilogy? I’d rate Johnson’s offering above either of Abrams'. Five, four, three, two, one…bring it on, Twitter.

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