John Boyega Has An Unpopular Pick For The Best Star Wars Movie – SlashFilm


Actor John Boyega starred in three of the extant 16 “Star Wars” movies*, playing the rogue-Stormtrooper-turned-good guy Finn in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015), “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (2017), and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (2019). Boyega liked playing Finn, but has gone on record (notably in a 2020 GQ interview) about his disappointment with how the series treated his character; Finn was set up to be a leading man, and was sidelined for what appeared to be racism-based reasons. Boyega was also off-put by Disney’s habit of micromanaging “Star Wars,” feeling that every one of the franchise’s actors ran the risk of being roped into “Star Wars” projects exclusively. “You ain’t going to Disney+ me,” he once laughingly said to Variety. 

There hasn’t been a “Star Wars” movie since 2019, as Disney+ kind of killed their Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs. The theatrical market was oversaturated, audiences didn’t respond terribly well to several of the new films, and the franchise proved unwieldy. The studio pivoted to TV, releasing multiple “Star Wars”-adjacent streaming shows instead. Since 2014, there have been six animated shows, seven live-action shows (including a few still upcoming), and seven shows classified as “micro-series.” John Boyega had to surf on the top of all this “content” just to breathe.

Back in 2016, Boyega was doing a lot of press interviews for various “Star Wars” movies, and was — perhaps naturally — asked about his relationship to the series and what his favorite movies might be in an issue of Star Wars Insider magazine. In what might be considered a controversial choice, Boyega said that Richard Marquand’s 1983 film “Return of the Jedi” is the best “Star Wars” movie. 

John Boyega likes ‘Return of the Jedi’

Conventional fan wisdom typically dictates that either George Lucas’ 1977 “Star Wars” or Irvin Kershner’s 1980 “The Empire Strikes Back” are the best “Star Wars” movies. “Return of the Jedi” is typically praised for creature effects — the extended sequence in Jabba the Hutt’s palace is chock-full of aliens and monsters — but just as often lambasted for the toyetic Ewoks and repeated plot points; the film climaxes with the destruction of another Death Star. 

Boyega, however, feels that the film is strong from a character perspective as well. He said: 

“‘Return of the Jedi’ is my favorite film, because you find Luke Skywalker at a very vulnerable time. In the first film, he was learning who he is and learning about this special world that’s out there that he never knew about. ‘Return of the Jedi’ is a great mix of drama, comedy, and somewhat expands the universe in terms of the Ewoks and other creatures that you find in the movie. It’s my favorite because it’s the establishment of each character at a different point in their lives. You see the whole story from a different point of view.” 

Which is fair. The Empire needed to be defeated again, but the characters were now more comfortable as a fighting force; they were no longer wartime neophytes like they were in the 1997 film. Luke (Mark Hamill) is now wounded and grown-up, having learned that the evil Darth Vader (David Prowse) is his father. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is now a general, and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) stages in-disguise rescue missions. They are all now people of action.

The shift away from droids in Star Wars

Boyega also liked the shift of perspective. George Lucas famously took some structural cues from Akira Kurosawa’s “The Hidden Fortress” to make “Star Wars,” specifically that the story was told from the POV of two bumbling side characters. In “Star Wars,” those characters became the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. “Jedi,” Boyega said, abandoned that conceit, and, he felt, was stronger for it. He said: 

“I always saw the first two films as from the point of view of R2-D2 and C-3PO. I only cared about these droids. These droids are just being exchanged, and passed around, and the story is told from their viewpoint. But ‘Return of the Jedi’ is fixated on Luke Skywalker’s story and he’s becoming the top Jedi on the streets right now and that was really cool to me.” 

Which is fair. 

It should be acknowledged that for years, “Jedi” was considered by fans to be the best “Star Wars” movie, a notion seen in Kevin Smith’s 1994 film “Clerks.” When one character says they prefer “Empire,” another character declares that opinion “blasphemy.” Popular opinions, it seems, have shifted. 

*The 16 “Star Wars” movies are: “Star Wars” (1977), “The Star Wars Holiday Special” (1978), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), “Return of the Jedi” (1983), “Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure” (1984), “Ewoks: The Battle for Endor” (1985), “The Great Heep” (1986), “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” (1999), “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” (2002), “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” (2005), “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (2008), “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015), “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016), “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (2017), “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018), and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (2019).

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