It's not too late for Star Wars to do John Boyega's Finn justice
As Daisy Ridley's Rey returns, could we be in for another comeback?
It's never too late for Star Wars to right a wrong.
The iconic franchise has proven time and time again that bringing back beloved characters, revisiting storylines that we thought were over and adding so much more meaning to certain moments is a key element in its success.
It's a huge reason why so many fans are so excited for the recently announced new films. We'll get to explore the galaxy in a way we never have before with James Mangold's movie, see an even more fleshed out Mando-verse with Dave Filoni's offering, and, spectacularly, see the continuation of Rey's story as Daisy Ridley returns in Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's epic.
It's no secret that people weren't too happy with the treatment of Finn in The Rise of Skywalker, not least Boyega himself, who's had some pretty scathing stuff to say about the franchise following his final scenes.
But, for me, it's nothing that can't be put right if they were to bring him back.
Finn began the sequel trilogy as one of the most exciting and intriguing characters, bursting onto our screens with a deeply poignant shot – a bloody handprint smeared across his Stormtrooper helmet.
He realises the horror of what he's been ordered to do, immediately scheming to escape with captured pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and quickly secures his status as an intelligent, fiercely independent, courageous, witty, and quick-thinking hero.
While some aren't too fond of his mission in The Last Jedi alongside Kelly Marie Tran's Rose Tico, it further cements all of these qualities.
But when it came to The Rise of Skywalker, too much of this work was carelessly undone. At points, he was portrayed as a nuisance, reliant on Rey for everything, something that's most prominently on show when she has to use the Force to throw him aside during a battle with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) before all too literally leaving him behind.
One of the most wasted opportunities was the reveal (if you can call it a reveal) that he's Force-sensitive. But this never culminates in anything other than his clever decisions being explained away by the fact that he had a feeling. While this seemed the natural foundation of him eventually becoming a Jedi, it wasn't the only logical conclusion we had to come to. But that thread did need to be tied up in a way that did his character justice.
Another wasted opportunity was the mention that Finn actually inspired a Stormtrooper uprising following his escape. Jannah (Naomi Ackie) tells him of the defectors he inspired, in a stunning moment that's also just... left. Showing more of this uprising and proving the massive impact that Finn's first, courageous action in the franchise had would have allowed his story to come full circle, and would have been a small part in continuing that story in a way that felt right for his character.
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Whether you agree with them or not, we're all aware of the complaints about The Rise of Skywalker – but it's not too late to set them right.
Bringing back Finn along with Rey in Obaid- Chinoy's future film, and giving him the time and storyline he deserves, would at least be a step in the right direction.
It would be a chance for the franchise to take advantage of those missed opportunities by telling more of Finn's fascinating backstory, finally showing us the ramifications of him being Force-sensitive, and allowing him to shine as the courageous hero we were led to believe was coming in The Force Awakens. Yes, it would be delayed, but it would finally give Finn a fitting conclusion to his story – something he was robbed of in The Rise of Skywalker.
We already know that Rey will be the Jedi Master rebuilding the Jedi Order in Obaid-Chinoy's movie. That leaves plenty of room for Finn, her old friend, to join her. After all, if there's one thing The Rise of Skywalker showed us, it's that she's at her best when she's not alone.
Whether Boyega will be interested in returning will be another matter. The rumour mill has been churning of late, but of course nothing is confirmed.
He famously told GQ in 2020: “What I would say to Disney is do not bring out a Black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.”
More recently, he told Total Film he's enjoying being a fan, adding: “I still am in love with it. I bloody love it. But it’s almost nicer not having to be in it, and not having to deal with that. It’s weird, you just go back to being a fan again and see yourself in the games.”
But, if it's a case of Finn finally having the story he deserves, perhaps there might be scope for him to reconsider. We can all hope. After all, Boyega's quote rings just as true for our beloved Star Wars actors as their iconic characters: "We're all in this. Until the very end."
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