John Boyega Talks Fellow Star Wars: Episode VIII Star, Kelly Marie Tran


At the Cannes Film Festival, John Boyega talked with Vulture about his Star Wars: Episode VIII co-star, Asian American actress Kelly Marie Tran.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens broke the internet when the first character to pop up (literally) in the film’s first teaser trailer was a black stormtrooper. Trolls fled in terror! Good humans everywhere rejoiced to see someone other than a white man or woman get to be in Star Wars! And it looks like we’re going to have that same experience again in Episode VIII with Kelly Marie Tran, an Asian American actress who has scenes with Boyega.

In an interview with Vulture at the Cannes Film Festival, Boyega talked about Tran and what it was like working with her.

via College Humor on YouTube

"She’ll be the first Asian person to play a major Star Wars character, but no one knows anything about her. What can you tell us? What’s she like?I love her. I love her. I think she’s fantastic. But she’ll tell her own story. I feel it’s always weird or wrong for someone the world hasn’t met, for me to come and start talking about her."

Several months ago, it was reported that various actresses, including Tran, were auditioning for their role with John Boyega to gauge their chemistry with the actor. Tran and Boyega, it seems, are the perfect combination.

"She’s changed you? Yeah, yeah! Her outlook. It’s a friendship thing in the sense of you meet someone and you’re just like, “I vibe with you. I feel like I’ve known you for years.” And that’s a very, very good thing."

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I’m excited to see Kelly Marie Tran in Star Wars, for a couple of reasons. First, she’s Asian American, and the sad truth up to now is that people of color have not had major roles in Star Wars films. When I watch the Star Wars movies, all the major characters look like me. When a person of Asian or African ethnicity watches them, or virtually any other person who is not white, they don’t see themselves anywhere but in split second blips of screentime as background characters (except in The Force Awakens, which was a huge step forward). Now, this doesn’t always bother people, and that’s fine; but it’s also important to acknowledge that there are a lot of great actors and actresses out there who don’t get a chance to be in big movies like Star Wars because they don’t fulfill the Hollywood ideal of white skin. Kelly Marie Tran getting what we hope is a main character-level role in Episode VIII is huge for increasing diversity in the films we enjoy.

The second reason is, I just want to see her in a Star Wars film. She intrigues me because she’s relatively unknown (much like John Boyega and Daisy Ridley before they were cast in The Force Awakens), and also because doesn’t look like a typical Hollywood actress. You know the type, because you see them in everything: long legs, a slim and/or hourglass shaped body (which Tran may have, it’s hard to tell in that screenshot from YouTube), and sultry, smokey eyes. Those aren’t bad qualities to have, of course, but it’s refreshing to see someone who looks less done up for the camera. We don’t know what Tran will look like in her Star Wars role, but hopefully she will retain some of that bubbly cuteness she conveys in the College Humor video the screenshot above is from.

Next: Star Wars: Episode VIII Arrives In Malin Head, Ireland

Are you excited to see Kelly Marie Tran in Star Wars: Episode VIII? Tell us who you think she’ll be playing in the comments below.