In no way was I referring to Kelly when I made my comments although the interviewer mentioned her given the topic. I was really speaking from my own perspective throughout this franchise. Sometimes I’ve felt strong and sometimes I’ve felt weak. Badly worded though. I apologize.
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) December 12, 2019
In the original interview with Variety, Boyega was prompted to talk about the “double-edged sword” of online engagement, as the interviewer mentioned the social media harassment that Tran encountered in the aftermath of Episode VIII.
“Being in this position, you just understand the masses, how the masses think, you know,” Boyega said in his response. “Through social media, we get to engage, we get to have fun. But at the same time, for those who are not mentally strong, you are weak to believe in every single thing that you read. That’s, you know, it is what it is.
“I don’t know, for me anyway, when I see that [backlash], I’m like, well, that’s actually not true. But no, it is actually not true. So it’s kind of like [shrugs] it is what it is. But to engage, to connect with the fans who otherwise wouldn’t get a day to day experience, especially during things like the press tour, and behind the scenes stuff, is always good.”
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Last year, Tran opened up about her decision to delete all of her Instagram posts, as she acknowledged the difficulties that she had faced on social media since appearing as Resistance fighter Rose Tico in The Last Jedi.
“It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them,” Tran wrote in a candid op-ed for The New York Times. “Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Character Posters
Both Tran and Boyega will reprise their respective roles as Finn and Rose in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, the concluding chapter of the nine-film Skywalker Saga, out on December 20.
For more on Episode IX, check out Richard E. Grant’s emotional review of the forthcoming instalment, read about the “big character plot twist” coming in the final film, and find out about the new Force powers likely to divide fans.
Adele Ankers is a Freelance Entertainment Journalist. You can reach her on Twitter.