John Boyega

Star Wars – The End of an Era

With the release of the Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker this month, we talk all things about that “galaxy far, far away” to four of the actors helping the Resistance take on The First Order in the third chapter of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and the final episode of the nine-part Skywalker saga. May The Force be with you…

The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and now The Rise of Skywalker feature the new generation. How does it feel to have that progressive responsibility on your shoulders?
In The Last Jedi the characters were split apart and going through their own individual issues in a way. But then this one wraps it up in a nice, red, bow because when you go back to The Force Awakens you realise everything has led to this moment. It felt nice to stand there with Daisy [Ridley] and Oscar [Isaac] on this one, representing the three main characters in this story. It’s a blessing and an honour.

What was the toughest sequence you did for The Rise of Skywalker?
The horseback riding. It’s not tough, but just knowing if it goes wrong — it goes wrong. They are just horses and they don’t believe in money – they’re not here being well behaved because they’re getting paid. But we had a great stunt team and our stunt coordinator was always on us and making sure we were safe and trained us very well.

Tell us about Finn’s look in this film.
The gauntlets are something new – I haven’t seen those before – much more of a waistcoat situation. I know Han has his but Finn’s is different because obviously time’s gone by and it’s a new style. Finn’s actually doing colour coordination, which is something quite interesting – with the blue and brown pants and the brown waistcoat – it’s dope.

He’s got a new hairstyle, too.
Yes, Finn must have gone to the Resistance beauty camp. He’s got a few clothes and a nice haircut. I like that. In the stress of war, why not look good fighting? Seriously though, I think Michael Kaplan’s done a great job. It felt great wearing these new costumes.

How, over the course of three films has Daisy Ridley (who plays Rey) developed her role?
Over three films, the directors have allowed Daisy to express herself through Rey in the most natural way she feels fit. Daisy already had a great instinct for Rey from the auditions from when I first met her. For Daisy it’s the expansion of character and the truth of character and that’s something she’s always conveyed. And she’s strong, but she’s strong in a specific way. The strength is quite unique, like it’s a personality thing, and I find that to be much more intricate detail than just being like, “I’m strong and I could fight everybody because I’m a Jedi.”

Did you and Daisy have any time to rap on the set?
We put the rapping to the side. Obviously as Daisy’s music manager, I just thought that another genre would be good for her. So opera singing now is something that Daisy does. I back her up with a few ad libs. We make it work. But I know the crew are definitely used to Daisy and I being very vocal and funny on set. Sometimes in the war scenes, we’d hum some Star Wars music because it was the moment for that. And Daisy would be right front and centre on that.

Tell us about having Billy Dee Williams [who plays Lando Calrissian] on set.
That was cool. Everybody knew when Billy Dee was coming to the set for the first time – I even dressed up a specific way just so that if he so happened to want a picture, I’d look slightly in coordination with his style, like the round-collared shirt. He’s the most suave man and it was good to see Lando come back in a role where he’s actually here to help, which for him is a great arc, considering where he came from and his relationship with Han [Solo].

What do you think about wrapping up this trilogy?
Star Wars has been such a big, major part of my life for a good few years. And it’s not until I got Star Wars that my life has changed with amazing speed and it’s been great. I’ve had an amazing time, travelling all over the world and meeting so many new people. But for me the most heartwarming thing is the collaboration within these studios, in these sets and the crew and the people you get to work with. The audiences are just waiting for the finished product, whereas the people who make it are part of the process and know you. But for Finn, I feel good about him ending like this. It’s a good confirmation to a great story.

ALL IMAGES (c) 2019 and TM Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved

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State of Play – January 2020