Analysis of The Force Awakens — Finn: Born for One Purpose, Destined for Another

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Like Rey, Finn is on his own hero’s journey. It starts with the death of fellow trooper FN-2003, aka “Slip.” This trooper’s identity was established in the anthology novel Before the Awakening and confirmed in the Visual Dictionary. Slip was the weakest link in Finn’s unit and Finn was reprimanded by Captain Phasma for helping Slip during training simulations, where Finn otherwise received top marks.

It has also been revealed that the trooper Finn fights on Takodana is another of his former teammates, FN-2199, aka “Nines.” I think that information would have added to that fight, needing only a simple line from Finn using Nines’s name, though I also think that character should have been Phasma. I found her character to be completely disappointing and underused. Having her defeat and almost kill Finn would have made her far more interesting and worth all the marketing hype.

While Slip’s death was the start of Finn’s turn in the film, it is cemented by the slaughter of the captured Jakku villagers. However, Finn is not yet a hero and spends most of the film running from the First Order. Finn does have moments of bravery and enjoys the feeling he gets from Rey believing him to be a Resistance fighter. But this is little more than a childish game when he reveals to Rey that he has been lying to her. He wants nothing to do with being a real hero, though he sincerely desires the safety of Rey. It isn’t until the attack on Maz’s castle and the capture of Rey that he becomes a true hero, willing to risk his life for others, and for a greater cause.

Finn’s path from fearful deserter of the First Order to selfless hero of the Resistance is fascinating; a story that reminds me of the Legends backstory of Han as a former Imperial. Perhaps this is why Han knows immediately that Finn is lying, but still has a soft spot for him.

At the end of The Force Awakens, we are left with a cliffhanger for Finn. Other than the fact that he is alive, we do not know his condition. Could he be crippled from Kylo’s saber strike? That would certainly add a lot of drama and conflict to his story. And what role will he play in the Resistance? Finn is now a hero, but his lager place in the saga is still a mystery. Whatever the future holds for him, Finn’s story represents a welcome addition to the character archetypes of the saga.

Until next time: May the Force be with you. Always.

Chris “Darth Hound” Miller

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