In a video for First We Feast recorded prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike, Boyega laid out his feelings about the sequel trilogy:
“‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is most definitely the best. Second, for me, comes [‘The Rise of Skywalker’]. The worst — in the most respectful sense — is [‘The Last Jedi’]. But they’re all lovely.”
I think I get where Boyega is coming from. Marketing for “The Force Awakens” made heavy use of the visual of his character, Finn, wielding a lightsaber during its climax, and Finn himself very much splits protagonist duties with Rey (Daisy Ridley). He’s also never the butt of any jokes in the film, with the humor instead coming from Finn’s relatable reactions to whatever absurdity is happening around him. Compare that to “The Last Jedi,” which kicks off with some slapstick comedy at Finn’s expense before shuttling him off on a side quest with the character Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) to the city Canto Bight. When you frame it like that, it seems like a fairly disrespectful way to treat the first Black lead in a “Star Wars” film.
Of course, Rose and Finn’s mission to Canto Bight is all about developing Finn as a character in ways “The Force Awakens” didn’t, and it culminates with one of the best moments in the sequel trilogy (Finn proudly declaring himself “Rebel scum”). It also laid the groundwork for the two characters to play an even more prominent role in the third film, as would’ve been the case had Lucasfilm made Colin Trevorrow’s version of the script, “Duel of the Fates.” Instead, Rose was criminally sidelined in “The Rise of Skywalker” and we never got to see Finn really come into his own as a leader in the Resistance, much less explore his latent Force abilities.