It’s here! The Rise of Skywalker is upon us, so it’s time to look back at the journey of our characters up to this point. And don’t worry: There will be absolutely no spoilers.
Finn is easily one of the standout characters of the sequel trilogy, which isn’t surprising. John Boyega plays him with a ton of charisma adding to the fun and affinity of his character.
His arc, on the other hand, has been a topic of much debate recently, even by Boyega himself. Both he and many others have felt that his character hasn’t had much development (both plot and character) in this trilogy to date. He even went so far to say that his journey in The Last Jedi was “pointless.”
But is it?
Let’s carefully go through his character’s journey so far and see what may have went wrong, as well what they got very right.
A Rebel Without A Cause
The Force Awakens. The film that so gloriously introduced this fan-favorite character is also the source of his many problems.
The moment his friend’s blood-soaked hand streaks across his glossy white helmet, he had our attention. It was then when he stood up, overwhelmed by the chaos of the war raging around him, and instantly — we were all board.
What a plot twist: A stormtrooper who’s had a change of heart and is now on the run from the First Order?! We’ve never seen that before in Star Wars, and The Force Awakens does a fine job with his story. That is, until the end.
Throughout the film, Finn is constantly filled with guilt for his previous allegiance to the First Order; however, J.J. Abrams’ team never explores the other side of that idea. Finn never makes a decision for the benefit of the Resistance. In fact, he straight-up rejects helping them in one scene, only coming back to save Rey.
The fact that he doesn’t pledge an allegiance in this film might be the biggest mistake the sequels have made. If The Last Jedi quickly resolves that and moves on with his character, it will all be fine though, right? Sadly, that’s not what happened.
Finally, We Find His Fight
Finn’s journey in The Last Jedi is very well told and much more meaningful than most people give it credit, so why do they cry about him not having much of an arc in this film?
Because The Force Awakens leaves his arc dangling! That’s why.
Most fans felt like Finn was a part of the Resistance by the end of that film. Since that isn’t the case, it feels like he’s in this weird state of limbo throughout The Last Jedi. He starts out in this movie the same way he does at the end of the last one–trying to save and help Rey.
It isn’t until he goes to Canto Bight where Rose and DJ show him what’s actually going on in the galaxy that things start to change. He sees some truly evil things going on, which challenge his views on the state of the galaxy. It’s in these defining moments for which Finn finds something to fight.
This is where his character should’ve ended in The Force Awakens.
It’s the necessity to finish the arc started in that film that makes his journey in this one feel lackluster. It makes these movies feel like they were setting his character up for two films instead of doing it in one, and then expanding upon that foundation in the next two. Hopefully, Episode IX can stick the landing.
Episode IX: The Rise of Finn?
Has Finn’s journey so far been disappointing? In some ways, yes. In some ways, no.
The concept of his character–an ex-stormtrooper fighting against the organization he’s fought for since birth–is so intriguing. His relation to the First Order should be one of the most interesting things in the franchise, but at this point, that connection has been non-existent. His character should’ve ended differently in The Force Awakens, and then taken in a bold direction in The Last Jedi, but that didn’t happen. That doesn’t mean it was all bad, though.
As a side character, Finn works tremendously well. Should he be better? Sure, but he’s developed well enough, and works so well with the other characters that, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. Will things get better for Finn in Episode IX? Probably. The set up is now complete and his character has no choice but to go on a new journey.
Here’s hoping that his end will be a fitting one.