finn star wars lost potential

What Finn’s Storyline Should Have Been in the ‘Star Wars’ Sequel Trilogy

It has been long lamented that John Boyega’s character of Finn, the child solider turned Resistance icon, was not given a fuller role in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Despite being highlighted early on and presented as equally important to the series as Rey and Poe, if you look at Finn’s storyline throughout the three films, it doesn’t go anywhere. Even as someone who genuinely likes The Last Jedi, it is hard to rewatch that movie and not be saddened at the untapped potential.

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Where could Finn’s story had gone? Well, here is what I think could have been interesting:

“I’m not Resistance. I’m not a hero. I’m a stormtrooper. Like all of them, I was taken from a family I’ll never know. And raised to do one thing. But my first battle, I made a choice. I wasn’t gonna kill for them. So I ran, right into you. And you looked at me like no one ever had. I was ashamed of what I was. But I’m done with the First Order. I’m never going back.”

Originally designated FN-2187, we first meet Finn when he and his fellow troopers are assigned a mission to the desert planet Jakku, to find the holder of a map that would lead to the location of Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi. At the village of Tuanul, The First Order launches an assault, and during the fighting, Finn’s fellow Trooper, FN-2003 is killed by pilot Poe Dameron. As FN-2003 dies, he wipes his blood on FN-2187’s helmet, and this shakes Finn. Despite being ordered by Kylo Ren to kill the villagers, he doesn’t fire.

Poe is captured, but Finn saves him, and Poe gives Finn his name. They escape, but their ship is shot down. Poe ejects Finn from the seat, and once they crash, Finn thinks Poe is dead. Taking Poe’s jacket, he decides to find the droid BB-8 to continue on Poe’s mission, and that leads him to Rey. They end up running away from bad guys, picking up the Millennium Falcon, meeting Han and Chewie, and it’s all very epic adventure.

Rey ends up getting captured by Kylo Ren. Finn goes with Han, Chewie, and BB-8 to the Resistance base on D’Qar. Poe is alive (yay) and Finn meets General Leia Organa. Finn shares the details of Starkiller Base with Admiral Ackbar. His inside knowledge ends up helping with the attack, and Finn wants to rescue Rey. During the attack, Finn ends up fighting Kylo Ren, and while he gets some hits in, being untrained gets him hurt. He is knocked unconscious, and we close the movie with him in recovery as Rey takes on the protagonist mantle.

The moment that Finn is injured and knocked out is the moment his character stops having direct narrative purpose in the story. As I wrote out the events here, it was interesting to me how he went from being a proactive character with an emotional journey to a bridge for a bunch of other characters.

Finn wakes up in The Last Jedi and gets caught up on the events since he got knocked out and attempts to desert in order to find Rey. What I think is most important about Finn in this first part is him saying that he didn’t sign up for this war. He wants to find Rey.

Now, this is not a romance thing, but I feel like taking Finn away from Rey is a mistake. Part of Finn’s journey is also reminding him of his humanity, finding a way to join the fight again. Who also needs that motivation? Luke. Luke and Finn are in a similar space, disillusioned in many ways, and trying to not repeat mistakes. Both have, I would argue, some kind of PTSD.

Not only that, but in a film about identity, the past, and moving forward, the character who can relate to that with Rey is … again, Finn. They are both orphans. They are both nobody. They see in each other a sense of home that they’d never felt before. That’s why both want to get back to each other.

(Lucasfilm)

But anyway, personally, I think the best way to have handled Finn would have been to have Leia train him. Rather than put Leia on ice, Leia should have gone on a separate pod to an allegiance mission on like Naboo or something (that way you get a nice Padmé cameo). Seeing Leia as a diplomatic leader would have been amazing.

The Resistance needs allies and support—she can literally use her influence to go get some. Rose can come with her because maybe they escape on a crappy ship and will need a mechanic. Leia says she will let Finn come, and he can leave if he wants. Poe gives him a symbol necklace to say goodbye if they don’t meet again. When they reach Naboo or some other random planet, Finn says he will leave, but he touches Poe’s necklace and agrees to stay until Leia is able to secure help and leave. Rose and Finn can both de disappointed by the politics and capitalism, and Leia literally fights against the clock to protect the Resistance.

At some point during a moment of contemplation, Leia recognizes the Force in Finn. They talk about it and she says something along the lines of “Well, if you were staying, you’d make a fine Padawan.”

Fast forward, as everything in The Last Jedi goes on, Leia is trying to convince someone powerful that they have to help. As Holdo’s ship explodes, Leia feels it in the Force and so foes Finn. This inspires Finn to stand up to someone powerful, talk about his past as a Stormtrooper, and say something like, “If I could resist them, after everything, after a lifetime, so can you.”

Rose steals a ship, and they fly towards the end fight planet. Finn tries to get Leia and Rose to leave, but they stay. Just when they think it’s too late, some cover fire comes and everyone is able to escape safely. Maybe Luke doesn’t even have to die yet! He can just own Kylo and then say bye.

Finn and Rey are reunited, share an epic hug. On the ship when Poe and Rey finally meet, Leia hands Finn a lightsaber in a flip of the ending of The Force Awakens. Rey can still do her solo training, and Poe can still have a “respect women” lesson.

Okay, The Rise of Skywalker. Well, rescuing that film would take a lot, but to just focus on Finn, at this point, he and Rey are both Padawans. They banter about which Skywalker is the better Master. Good times. He and Jannah decide to help deprogram other stormtroopers, knowing that if they can show them it is possible, they will follow. He does that instead of just running and screaming “Rey!” for like 15 minutes. During this mission, he feels Leia’s death and returns to the base. He touches where Leia disappeared.

Poe becomes acting general, and when he offers Finn to be general with him, Finn says, “Leia always said I was more of an Ambassador than a general.”

“I can’t think of anyone better to speak for us than you,” Poe responds, and they touch heads in a way that is allowed to be shown as platonic masculine affection—but the real ones know.

An attendant brings Finn a box, and inside is Leia’s lightsaber.

They fight, they win. Finn gets to fight Phasma, so when she says, “You were always scum,” Finn can respond, “Rebel scum, like my Master before me.”

Finn is now a Jedi and takes on protecting the resistance and maintaining allegiances, and along with Rey, trains a new era of Jedi who know that a nobody and a stormtrooper can also be heroes. They have family dinner with Poe on Fridays.

(featured image: Lucasfilm)


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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.