“It’s been great to see how the ‘Star Wars’ universe has been expanded just in terms of culture,” John Boyega said. He reprises his role as Finn in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which opens Friday.
John Boyega’s first order of business on “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was to keep the interstellar hero he plays grounded.
The London-born actor reprises the role of Finn in the movie opening Friday and returns to a galaxy far, far away determined to help the nameless stormtrooper he introduced to audiences in 2015’s “The Force Awakens” find his true identity.
“He’s more serious in this one. He’s much more on the ball with the fight,” said Boyega, 25. “His decision to fight for the Resistance is not an easy one to make, and we still see him in a transition, but we can tell he’s trying. … He’s still the jokey, light guy, but he has moments of much more seriousness and understanding, because he’s now starting to get to know what it means to be a human being.”
Adjusting to a new life is a concept Boyega can relate to. The actor transformed from a virtual unknown into a global star essentially overnight two years ago with “The Force Awakens.”
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While Boyega says he’s able to escape the spotlight whenever he’s off the movie tour and back home in London, he acknowledges fame can have its challenges. He’s managed to take it all in stride, though, thanks largely to a valuable lesson he picked up from Carrie Fisher, a veteran of the “Star Wars” universe who returned as Leia in the latest trilogy before her tragic death last year.
“One thing I find from her is that she didn’t really live her life for other people, in the sense of other people’s opinions,” Boyega said. “That’s something I’m starting to learn myself. Being young, being in this position, sometimes you can get a bit too tied up about what the masses are saying. Now I don’t care. I really don’t. It’s the best way to live, and Carrie Fisher is one of the people in my life that has influenced that.”
Not only has “Star Wars” ushered in a new era in recent years with characters like Finn, Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), it’s become a more diverse franchise, too.
Boyega’s family has Nigerian roots, Isaac was born in Guatemala, Ridley gives young fans a female action hero to look up to and cast newcomer Kelly Marie Tran’s parents hail from Vietnam.
“It’s been great to see how the ‘Star Wars’ universe has been expanded just in terms of culture,” Boyega said. “The human aspect of it. ‘Star Wars’ is known for having a great variety and diversity in aliens, and now we get to kind of transfer that same code into the humans in the story, and it only makes sense.”
The structure of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is similar to that of “The Empire Strikes Back,” in that it’s split into several plotlines following the quests of multiple characters, Boyega said.
But in some ways, the new movie is unlike any previous “Star Wars.”
“It’s different because the story’s different. We’re continuing the story. We can’t go back and do it again,” Boyega said. “We’re moving forward, and the challenges are darker and they’re deeper, and the Resistance, they’re not great right now. They’re on their last leg and General Leia is the only one protecting the line of defense. There’s a call and a cry for help throughout the whole galaxy.”