Star Wars actor John Boyega is calling out fantasy favorites Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings for a lack of diversity.
“There are no black people on Game of Thrones. You don’t see one black person in Lord of the Rings,” Boyega said in a recent interview with GQ. “I ain’t paying money to always see one type of person on-screen. Because you see different people from different backgrounds, different cultures, every day. Even if you’re a racist, you have to live with that. We can ruffle up some feathers.”
Boyega previously commented on diversity in pop culture after the first teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out and opened with him taking his Stormtrooper helmet off. Some fans of the franchise protested the casting choice, and Boyega responded by calling these reactions “unnecessary” and told detractors to “get used to it.”
“I’m in the movie, what are you going to do about it?” he told V Magazine at the time. “You either enjoy it or you don’t. I’m not saying get used to the future, but what is already happening. People of color and women are increasingly being shown on-screen. For things to be whitewashed just doesn’t make sense.”
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As for The Lord of the Rings, there were very few nonwhite actors cast — Lawrence Makoare, one of the few actors of color in the films, played villains and was unrecognizable under both heavy Orc makeup and the armor of the Witch-King — and a casting agent was even let go from The Hobbit after he published newspaper advertisements “seeking extras with ‘light skin tones'” and told a potential cast member “she was too dark to appear in the movies,” the New York Times reported in 2010.
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