British actor John Boyega made a name for himself as Finn in the Skywalker Saga Star Wars sequel trilogy — Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019).
Boyega’s character, ex-stormtrooper Finn, was one of the core cast members in the sequels, alongside Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron.
Boyega has become well-known for his involvement in Black Lives Matter protests in London last year — at one point he even gave an impassioned monologue –, and for speaking out against the Star Wars franchise for sidelining both Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) and Finn’s story arcs in the sequel films. The actor has, however, stood up for Star Wars director JJ Abrams.
It is also important to note that Boyega and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy had at least one “honest conversation” about his feelings, so the issues he was concerned about were seemingly taken seriously by Lucasfilm, Ltd. and The Walt Disney Company.
Now, Boyega has moved on from Star Wars and has been filming the upcoming Netflix series, Rebel Ridge. However, a wrench has been thrown into the production — Boyega recently walked out mid-production, reportedly due to “family reasons”.
The production is currently paused but we understand Netflix is working hard to find a replacement for the Star Wars actor and someone is likely to be drafted in in the next few days. Filming began on May 3rd in Louisiana.
A Netflix spokesperson told us: “Rebel Ridge is pausing temporarily as we look to re-cast John Boyega who needed to leave the project for family reasons. We remain committed to Jeremy Saulnier’s extraordinary film and look forward to resuming production. We look forward to continuing our partnership with John Boyega’s UpperRoom Productions, in addition to our upcoming film They Cloned Tyrone in which he also stars.”
Deadline also noted that this is a very strange turn of events for the streaming giant, as actors rarely leave a series mid-shoot, particularly when there are seemingly no hard feelings involved. At this time, details of Boyega’s family emergency have not been shared publicly.
In addition to Rebel Ridge, Boyega recently starred as Leroy Logan in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe miniseries alongside Star Wars costar Naomi Ackie (Jannah).
He also has four projects — They Cloned Tyrone, The Test, Borderland, and Attack the Block 2 — in development.
What do you think about John Boyega leaving his latest production mid-shoot?