Rian Johnson Had to Separate Finn and Poe in The Last Jedi Because “Those Two Get Along Too Well”
In a recent conversation with Collider, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson revealed that Poe was almost the one to accompany Finn on the Canto Bight mission, rather than Rose. However, that storyline ultimately didn’t generate any conflict or growth, because “those two get along too well.”
In the video, Johnson explains that Poe was “the hardest to write for” (besides Luke), because it was so difficult to figure out his story and how he could grow. “Poe is such a clear-cut, simple character in [Episode] VII,” Johnson says, “and he is awesome, because he’s just Oscar Isaac. He’s the most charismatic man in the universe, and he’s just rad.”
How do you build a forward arc for a character like that?
“In the very first draft I wrote of [The Last Jedi], Poe went with Finn on the mission to Canto Bight, and the two of them were going to be together on the mission. And it didn’t work at all, because those two get along too well. And so it was just really boring. And so then, when I split them apart, I thought ‘Oh, so Poe can have his own deal.’ … God, what is Poe’s deal?”
Eventually, Johnson figured it out. “He’s a hero, but he has to learn how to become a leader,” he explains. “Leia needs him to mature beyond kind of brash heroics into someone who can actually take on the mantle of leading this Resistance.”
Now, the Finn-Poe shipper in me is admittedly disappointed that we didn’t get this wonderful extended date to a casino planet. And the grumpy queer in me feels like there totally could have been tension in those scenes if Disney would just let those two have a romance, goddamnit.
However, I’m an adult, and I know that’s ultimately not my decision to make, and it’s ultimately not my movie. So, given the choices the movie makes about its ships, Johnson’s storytelling logic here is sound. Poe’s failures and growth made for some great drama, and letting Finn learn from Rose’s passion and come to fully commit to the Resistance gave him a wonderful arc. Plus, this change likely resulted in more screentime for my beloved Rose Tico, and who could complain about that?
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