Mark Hamill praises John Boyega following his emotional anti-racism speech
Mark Hamill has praised his Star Wars co-star John Boyega following his emotional speech during anti-racism protests in London.
Boyega – who played Finn in the latest trilogy – told Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Hyde Park he was “speaking to you from my heart” as he delivered a rousing message through a megaphone.
He paid tribute to George Floyd, the black American who died in police custody, as well as others who had been killed in controversial circumstances.
Boyega, who was born in London to parents of Nigerian descent, also voiced concerns speaking out might harm his career.
He was widely praised for the speech, with Hamill – known to millions of Star Wars fans for playing Luke Skywalker – among those paying tribute.
Hamill tweeted: “Never been more proud of you, John.” He signed off the message with “dad”.
The official Star Wars Twitter account also paid tribute. It said: “Lucasfilm stands with John Boyega and his message that ‘now is the time. Black lives have always mattered.
“‘Black lives have always been important. Black lives have always meant something’.
“The evil that is racism must stop. We will commit to being part of the change that is long overdue in the world. John Boyega, you are our hero.”
Filmmaker Matthew A Cherry quote tweeted Boyega voicing concerns about how speaking out might harm his career and said: “I would work with John Boyega and I urge other Non-Black creators to affirm that they have his back as well.”
Director Olivia Wilde was among those to respond, saying: “Absolutely. I would be honoured to work with @JohnBoyega and can only hope to have the chance. We’ve got your back, John. Don’t hold back.”
Jordan Peele, the Oscar-winning director of Get Out, said: “We got you, John.”
Actress Yvette Nicole Brown said: “Dear @JohnBoyega, I see you and I love you. Thank you for loving us.
“And know this, being on the right side of history is better than any paycheck complicit silence would provide. I stand with you. WE stand with you.”
Boyega previously said he did not want to “work in fear” when in the US, as he addressed the unrest spreading across the US and elsewhere.
Mr Floyd died while in police custody. Former officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder while three others who were at the scene have also been charged in relation to the death.