Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Who is Finn?


(Note: This article contains numerous spoilers for plot threads from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Since this is a Star Wars fan site, we’re assuming you’ve already seen the movie once and just want to dive into theories or learn more about Finn. If not … well, go see the movie! We’ll wait.)

From the very first time fans saw John Boyega’s Finn in trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he was the subject of intense curiosity. Obviously, he was a stormtrooper at one point, but then he … what, switched sides? It was an idea we’d not seen before (unless you count the clone troopers in the prequel trilogy, and I’m not, since they were always going to sell out the good guys), and one that led to a great deal of speculation.

As it turned out, Finn was for the most part, exactly what he first appeared to be. A First Order Stormtrooper, he has a crisis of conscience during the raid on Jakku early in The Force Awakens, deciding not to participate in the ordered massacre of the village’s residents. Later, he is going to be assigned to reconditioning by Captain Phasma, but he decides to instead help the captive Poe Dameron escape, setting him off on a new path of adventure.

More from Finn

His motivations are unique among the main characters. Finn seems to instinctively want to do the right thing, but it’s a bit of a struggle for him. He tells Rey that he’s a member of the Resistance mostly to impress her, and while he attempts to tell her the truth pretty quickly, he is interrupted and ends up sticking to the lie for quite some time. In the film’s climactic sequence, he participates in the raid on Starkiller Base, but he makes it clear to Han Solo that his main goal is to rescue Rey (instead of, you know, saving the galaxy!) and even lies about knowing how to disable its shields.

Almost everything else we learn about Finn comes from the dialogue he has with other characters. He tells Poe that he has no name, because as a stormtrooper, he was only ever called by his designated code, FN-2187. Humorously, we find out during an exchange with Han that Finn’s role with the First Order was sanitation. And his heart-to-heart with Rey reveals that he was taken from his family at a young age, but that he made the decision to turn against his conditioning during his “first battle.”

Outside of those conversations and the fact that he’s good with a blaster — less so with a lightsaber, but that’s to be expected — that’s all we learn about Finn in The Force Awakens. Other supplementary material on his time prior to the movie is out in book form, specifically in Before the Awakening, by Greg Rucka and Phil Noto. Though intended for kids, that book hints that Finn was developing a conscience even before the events of the movie, though Phasma was probably correct that he had no prior incidents of outright insubordination.

What’s Next for Finn After The Force Awakens?

Finn has perhaps the hardest arc to predict of any of the main characters going forward. We have a pretty good idea Rey and Kylo Ren are going to be training on opposite sides of the Force and are destined for a rematch or two. The First Order is still out there, so Poe Dameron should have plenty more missions to fly. But Finn … who knows?

He first has to recover from the injuries sustained in his lightsaber duel with Ren, but let’s assume that he does. He’ll undoubtedly want to find Rey, though perhaps Leia and others will convince him she needs to seek her destiny on her own, at least for the time being.

The guess here is that knowing the First Order is still a threat, perhaps a more dangerous one that before despite losing Starkiller Base because the Republic’s government has been destroyed, Finn will join the Resistance in earnest. He and Poe certainly bonded, so maybe Episode VIII will see them teaming up more to undertake more dangerous operations. He may still have inside knowledge of the First Order that could prove helpful. And yes, I mean besides where the trash compactors are located!

Next: Star Wars: The Force Awakens -- Who is Rey?

The only certainty is that Rey’s final vow to him that she will see him again is going to come true. It wouldn’t be Star Wars without a romance angle of some sort, tragic as they often turn out to be, and Finn and Rey appear to be headed down that path. Whether they will make it all the way to love is something we’re just going to have to wait and see.