Lucasfilm has learned from their mistakes with John Boyega and it shows

John Boyega's actions made real change in the company
The Critics Choice Association's Celebration Of Cinema And Television Honoring Black, Latino And
The Critics Choice Association's Celebration Of Cinema And Television Honoring Black, Latino And / Kayla Oaddams/GettyImages

Star Wars: The Acolyte is just around the corner, and it seems that Lucasfilm is taking a very powerful step forward with this series. Both Lucasfilm's President Kathleen Kennedy and showrunner Leslye Headland have made incredibly vocal statements calling out the worst parts of the fandom ahead of the show.

Speaking to Variety, Kennedy emphatically stated, "Operating within these giant franchises now, with social media and the level of expectation — it’s terrifying. I think Leslye has struggled a little bit with it. I think a lot of the women who step into Star Wars struggle with this a bit more. Because of the fan base being so male dominated, they sometimes get attacked in ways that can be quite personal.”

"My belief is that storytelling does need to be representative of all people,” she finished, openly supporting Headland's series.

Headland added her own statement, saying, “As a fan myself, I know how frustrating some Star Wars storytelling in the past has been. I’ve felt it myself. I stand by my empathy for Star Wars fans. But I want to be clear. Anyone who engages in bigotry, racism, or hate speech … I don’t consider a fan.”

It's refreshing to see Lucasfilm executives so openly supporting their showrunners. Thanks to this support, the showrunners can openly share their thoughts and experiences without fear. This wasn't always the case for Lucasfilm supporting its creatives. I truly believe this is thanks to John Boyega.

Before, during, and after The Force Awakens, Lucasfilm did not protect John Boyega from the vitriol that was slung his way in the form of racist comments from so-called fans. They also didn't protect Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran from similar misogynistic comments, which led to the women getting chased off their social media platforms.

"I was the only cast member whose Star Wars experience was based on race," Boyega publicly called out Lucasfilm in 2020. He told GQ, " What I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.”

"Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver. You knew what to do with these other people, but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know [explicit] all. So what do you want me to say? What they want you to say is, ‘I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience...’ Nah, nah, nah. I’ll take that deal when it’s a great experience. They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley. Let’s be honest. Daisy knows this. Adam knows this. Everybody knows. I’m not exposing anything."

John Boyega to GQ

Things truly changed in the summer of 2020 during the George Floyd protests. Boyega hadn't been silent before that, but he took a very public stance, risking his career to call out those in power who weren't protecting BIPOC people.

And Lucasfilm listened. They, in turn, showed their support for Boyega in a shift that changed everything in the company. Along with their public support and sharing the above video of Boyega's full speech, the company also pledged over $7 million to nonprofit social justice organizations.

There was a shift after that in Lucasfilm. They knew they messed up with John, Kelly, and Daisy. There was no way they could avoid this anymore. Immediately afterward, we could see the change implemented as soon as the series Obi-Wan Kenobi came around. Sure enough, Moses Ingram faced the same vitriol that Boyega faced. Only this time, Lucasfilm was ready.

Not only did Lucasfilm better prepare Moses for what she could face, but they were ahead of the curve with prepared statements of support. Ewan McGregor even came out and called out the so-called fans who were racist towards her. This was a major move by the company to create a safe place for their actors and marginalized fans in this space.

To The Hollywood Reporter, via, Boyega discussed how important this change was for him, saying, "Moses Ingram being protected makes me feel protected. 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. It wasn't a conversation you could bring up. 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."

He added, "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 [biblical] Moses. 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."

Thanks to John Boyega, real change has happened at Lucasfilm. They're bolder in protecting their fans and creators against those in this space who claim to be "real fans." Still, nothing about what happened to John is okay. He should have never had to risk his career just to feel safe at his job. It's good there has been a change. It's wonderful to see the company supporting The Acolyte creators so openly.

However, it should have never happened in the first place.

Next. The Acolyte: 5 familiar Jedi who could appear in the series. The Acolyte: 5 familiar Jedi who could appear in the series. dark