Earlier this month, The Last Jedi breakout star Kelly Marie Tran left Instagram, reportedly due to comments from a radicalized faction of Star Wars fans. The actress, who played new character Rose Tico in the film, was the victim of sustained harassment that ranged from calling her character “unnecessary” to insults of a fouler mode. Tran isn’t the first Star Wars cast member to feel the lash of fandom and retreat: Daisy Ridley also deleted her account after similar harassment and The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson regularly fields trolls on Twitter.
This week, John Boyega got fed up with it.
The actor, who plays Finn in the new Star Wars films, is no stranger to internet harassment himself — he received plenty from racist individuals upset over seeing a black man in a Stormtrooper uniform. Today, he spoke out on Twitter regarding the fandom harassment:
If you don’t like Star Wars or the characters understand that there are decisions makers and harassing the actors/ actresses will do nothing. You’re not entitled to politeness when your approach is rude. Even if you paid for a ticket! ♂️— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) June 12, 2018
He also pushed back directly to those who think they know everything that’s happening behind-the-scenes at Lucasfilm.
We don’t care. ♂️— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) June 12, 2018
If fans don’t know better.... right right because what I said was very rude in comparison to the approach. Im a human mate not your lord and saviour.— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) June 12, 2018
To end on a positive note, Boyega thanked fans that had remained supportive of the actors for their empathy.
To the majority of Star Wars fans thank you for supporting and putting yourselves in our shoes. You understand that there is a process so much appreciated !— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) June 12, 2018
And, of course, made jokes when one Twitter user commented, “Next, John will be telling us that actors don’t write their own dialogue.” John sarcastically replied:
or that sw is in fact a documentary and I am actually a stormtrooper. https://t.co/GJ8yp5FGtU— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) June 12, 2018
Mark Hamill, who responded to the harassment several days ago, fulfilled what seems to be his patriarchal role within the Star Wars family and commented on Boyega’s second tweet, cautioning against letting fans put themselves in his shoes.
Even as fandom turns to harassment to vent its opinions, as the line between artist and spectator is crossed, Boyega is willing to call out problematic behavior when he sees it. For some franchise stars, there’s more to Star Wars than fan service.