Finn’s hero journey never hit the mark in Star Wars and it’s really disappointing

Committed to the cause of the Resistance, Finn (John Boyega) fights alongside his closest friends in the struggle to defeat the First Order. Photo: Lucasfilm.
Committed to the cause of the Resistance, Finn (John Boyega) fights alongside his closest friends in the struggle to defeat the First Order. Photo: Lucasfilm. /

FN-2187, later known as Finn, presented one of the most interesting character origins in the Star Wars film franchise the moment he was on the screen.

As we’re introduced to him, Finn is a Stormtrooper with a heart, questioning his morality among the First Order. Genius! So what happened in the Star Wars sequels that took FN-2187’s journey from turncoat Stormtrooper to barely-there sidekick?

For one, it’s imperative to mention the behind-the-scenes, at least quickly. Since the Star Wars sequel trilogy did not have a thorough line for what the story should be, some characters ended up on the wayside. One of those was Finn.

In the first film, The Force Awakens, we see a Stormtrooper heading onto the battlefield for seemingly the first time and he is freaked out. It doesn’t seem right that his squadron is dying nor is it right to wrangle up these villagers only to kill them. Just like that, he’s ready to get out — and fast. After an escape goes bad, he ends up with our main protagonist of the sequel trilogy, Rey.

From there Finn goes from almost selfishly putting his safety first to genuinely caring for his friend. He ends up back in First Order territory — the one place he wanted to get away from — just because he has a chance to save Rey. This leads him to face off with his former leaders, Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren, before being defeated. He puts his life on the line to save his friend!

That’s a nice hero’s journey in its own right! It’s not where Finn’s story ends, though.

The beginning of the next film, The Last Jedi, sees Finn reverting back to his selfish ways. He’s trying to escape the Resistance in order to get away from the First Order — even though he already went through that arc and succeeded! He meets another female friend, Rose Tico, and has an emotional journey with her before once again ending up in the First Order’s hands and facing off with his old leader, Captain Phasma. His story is almost exactly the same as the first film. Why? Why did he have to learn his lesson twice?

This is always something that bothered me about The Last Jedi. Finn starts the film in the same mindset as the beginning of the first one and ends it by being willing to sacrifice himself to save his friends. The difference this time is that the film sends him on a wild goose chase in between and gives him another deep connection with someone. One he ends up kissing! And it’s only for that to be thrown out in the next film.

The potential for Finn to ingrain himself into the Resistance was right there! How interesting would it have been for him to be caught up in the Resistance only for some of his First Order teachings to slow down his re-emergence as one of the “good guys”? It’s something I’m not quite over, honestly.

Now we’ve come to the last film in the sequel series, The Rise of Skywalker. A wet fart of a film for Finn. He’s finally immersed in the Resistance, realizing it’s the right thing to do and it’s the side that his best friend, Rey, is on and working with. He’s sent on missions (or at least one) before accompanying Rey on her journey in an attempt to overthrow the First Order.

It’s a new path for Finn — one that should’ve happened in the previous film but I’ve already ranted about that! His story is pushed to the side even more since the heroes need to collect a McGuffin. It’s during this hunt for the McGuffin that he meets another woman and learns that they have a very similar background. They are former Stormtroopers who deserted the First Order.

This is frustrating because it takes away what made Finn stand out in the crowd. His connection and relationship with Rey is what makes it the most unique, but now the thing that made him a hero in the first place was actually also done by others. Why take that away from him?

Realizing Finn can’t help Rey in her spiritual journey, he does what he can to help save the galaxy — by being promoted to General of the Resistance alongside Poe. Huh? He just started…oh well. Moving right along, Finn uses intel that he got from a droid to help devise a battle plan against the rise of the First Order, now backed with more Palpatine power.

Finn decides that he should launch a ground assault to knock out towers in order to prevent the ships from navigating off the planet. How did he come to his conclusion? Finn had suddenly used his long-dormant power of the Force to sense that the ship’s signal was being sent to one ship.

This is the point where it’s just really insulting to the character. Now Finn has Force powers and he’s using it to sense communications between ships? WHAT?! I will relent slightly on the Force aspect, only because they did the same thing to Leia (granted that happened in the second film, not the third). It’s just executed so poorly and used so little; there doesn’t seem to be any real purpose to it. Why not let Finn stay being not Force-sensitive and just a hero for his courage and actions? Why throw it in there last minute?

Regardless, Finn helps save the galaxy and hugs his friends in a warm embrace to celebrate their victory. That’s how his story ends in Star Wars.

There was a huge story potential missed with Finn. They gave him a solid hero arc in the first film and didn’t do much with him afterward. He was an afterthought, essentially. Actor John Boyega really sold the character and had a lot of charisma in his scenes. The story didn’t do him justice, though. I really liked Finn as a character, which is why the lack of substance in the later films is so disappointing for me. Justice for Finn!

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What do you think of Finn’s journey? Do you agree or see his story in a different light? Let us know in the comments below!