February 27, 2017


Future Black History Month: John Boyega's Starry Start

David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

Fuse is once again celebrating an extended Black History Month by looking at a variety of rising forces who are creating Future Black History before our eyes. Today we commemorate John Boyega, the 24-year-old English actor who serves as one third of the tripod of young actors holding up the new Star Wars trilogy. “I’m having so much fun, because you know what?" he said to The Verge on his December 2015 press tour for Episode VII: The Force Awakens. "They cast a Star Wars fan in a Star Wars movie. Biiiiiig mistake!

Born to Nigerian parents in South London, Boyega broke out in 2011's alien invasion indie Attack the Block. As Finn and Rey, he and Daisy Ridley were the newbies of the Force Awakens bunch; the film earning $2.07 billion and becoming the No. 3 top-grossing movie of all time internationally—plus the No. 1 in American history—made them both household names in a blink. "Although this franchise is such a massive thing," he told British Vogue, "I've tried my best to approach it as I approach any other job: do the best I can and just focus on the work."

Boyega has since been fêted with a Cannes Film Festival award for Male Revelation, a BAFTA Rising Star Award and an Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer. None of which has stopped him from being utterly grounded. "You don't have to wait for the big achievements to be proud of yourself," he recently wrote on Twitter. "The small achievements help build a big one. I'm very proud of my 'big' achievements but most proud of the journey. The things many don't know about. #Stilllearning."

Asked what he makes of his position at the vanguard of Star Warsnewfound inclusiveness, Boyega told The Verge:

"Yeah, you are aware of it to a certain extent, but it quickly becomes so natural, because that’s our [real] world. It just works. So it’s not something that you go, 'Gosh, leading female and black male.' It feels like an ensemble of people that work [cohesively]. Obviously everybody’s been chosen based on their skills and based on their ability. But the fact that also, we’re reflective of the world we live in today is fantastic. Apart from the Wookiees and the green people."

Next up is Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, coming this Dec. 15; Boyega has promised it's "darker" and "bigger."

On Feb. 3, Netflix exclusively released Imperial Dreams, a drama that won the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Next up, Boyega will do the adaptation of Dave Eggers' The Circle alongside Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, plus Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow's still-untitled film about the 1967 Detroit race riots. The big one, though, is Pacific Rim: Uprising, the much-clamored-for sequel to Guillermo del Toro's 2013 robots vs. monsters movie. In addition to producing through his new UpperRoom Productions banner, Boyega will play Jake Pentecost.

Now, before we wrap up, we just have to come out and say no John Boyega tribute is complete without pointed admiration for his superior style:

We're celebrating Future Black History all month long. Tune in to Fuse and come back to Fuse.tv every day for profiles, videos and more. Find Fuse in your area with our Channel Finder.