In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey and Finn were clearly established as the two heroes of the sequel trilogy. Finn was hinted to be Force-sensitive and a future as a Jedi was teased by his handful of lightsaber-wielding fight scenes. But then, the next two movies became far more interested in Rey than Finn.
Rey was given the arc of a Jedi-in-training who takes on the Sith overlord ruling over the galaxy with an evil empire and saves the day as Finn was gradually reduced to a background character. Arguably, Finn should’ve been the hero of the sequel trilogy.
10 He Was Truly A Nobody
The thematic backbone of the sequel trilogy, if there was one, was all about Rey accepting that she’s a nobody, although the revelation that she’s a Palpatine undermines that and her adoption of the Skywalker name wasn’t a logical conclusion for her arc. In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey is constantly asked about her last name to hammer home that she’s a nobody.
But if the sequel trilogy was going to be about a nobody plucked from the obscure depths of a galaxy where the Skywalker name has become legendary, Finn was much better suited to that role. He didn’t just not have a last name; he didn’t have a first name, either. “Finn” was assigned by Poe. Finn was orphaned by the First Order, given the codename “FN-2187,” and raised to blindly kill innocent civilians for a dictator (although this was also undermined by the sanitation gag).
9 He Was The Only Member Of The Trio With Strong Ties To Both Other Characters
In the original trilogy, Luke, Leia, and Han are developed into an iconic trio who all share inseparable bonds with one another in different shapes and forms. In the sequel trilogy, Rey, Finn, and Poe don’t share a single scene together until the third movie.
Finn developed strong friendships with both Poe and Rey throughout The Force Awakens, so he was the glue that held the trilogy’s trio together, but the movies instead focused on Rey, who wasn’t all that interested in making friends.
8 He Was A Wholly Original Creation
Originality was seriously lacking in the sequel trilogy. As a bright-eyed kid stuck on a barren desert planet amid an intergalactic war who dreams of flying off into space and exploring the galaxy, Rey is basically a female Luke Skywalker. She’s not a farmer and she doesn’t have parental guardians around, but the fundamentals are the same.
By contrast, Finn is a wholly original creation. The story of a Stormtrooper becoming a Jedi would have been an entirely new story for the Star Wars saga.
7 He Actually Needed Jedi Training
While Rey arrives on Ahch-To so powerful with the Force that it terrifies Luke Skywalker, Finn’s defeat by Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base demonstrated that he actually needed to be trained in the ways of the Force. Rey spent her training with Luke just hanging out and Force-Skyping with her genocidal bad boy crush. But Finn had all the passion (and the lack of experience) of Luke himself when he was first trained by Yoda on Dagobah.
As a bonus, John Boyega and Mark Hamill had a great repartee behind the scenes, so they could’ve developed a fun on-screen dynamic if Luke trained Finn instead of Rey.
6 He Had A Personal Vendetta Against The First Order
The sequel trilogy never quite landed on whether Stormtroopers are brainwashed orphans or guilt-free cannon fodder because the Imperial soldiers were shown to be both. But in The Force Awakens, Finn was characterized as a Stormtrooper who defects from the First Order and ends up joining the Resistance in their fight against the bad guys.
This gave Finn a personal vendetta against the First Order, like Luke Skywalker’s vendetta against the Empire for burning his aunt and uncle to death, that Rey didn’t really have. Rey’s life on Jakku isn’t affected by the First Order’s rule at all, so she has no reason to want to bring it down.
5 Rey Was Better-Suited To The Dark Side
Throughout the sequel trilogy, Rey constantly flirted with the dark side of the Force, tempted by corruption at every turn. In The Rise of Skywalker, this was retconned into a weird hereditary thing due to being a descendant of Palpatine, but Rey was otherwise primed for an Anakin-like turn to the dark side.
At times, her dark side leanings shocked even Kylo Ren, whose redemption could’ve instead arrived by teaming up with a Jedi Finn to take on the all-powerful Darth Rey.
4 He Could’ve Led A Stormtrooper Revolution
Just as Rey’s arc seemed to be building toward raising an army of young Jedi starting with “Broom Boy,” Finn’s arc seemed to be building toward leading a Stormtrooper revolution, fighting against the First Order with their own troops in the big final battle.
Of course, neither of those things happened in the trilogy’s final chapter, with J.J. Abrams favoring a bunch of new “mystery box” dumps like an ancient Sith dagger in the shape of the second Death Star’s wreckage.
3 He Has More Solid Parallels With Kylo Ren
Rey’s dynamic with the sequel trilogy’s main villain, Kylo Ren, is defined by vague romantic tension designed to bait shippers. Finn would’ve had a much more interesting hero/villain dynamic with Kylo Ren because the two have solid parallels.
FN-2187 was created by the bad guys and changed his name to Finn when he defected to the good guys’ side. Ben Solo was raised by the good guys and changed his name to Kylo Ren when he defected to the bad guys’ side. Finn’s family was taken from him; Ben Solo killed his.
2 John Boyega’s Commitment To The Role Was Unparalleled
The casting team behind the Star Wars sequel trilogy assembled a bunch of the greatest actors working today, and they were all committed to their roles. But John Boyega’s passion stood out in particular, both for the role of Finn and for the Star Wars saga in general.
In the months since the sequel trilogy ended and Boyega was released from his contracts, he’s been speaking out about his frustrations with the trilogy, much like his similarly vocal co-star Mark Hamill.
1 He’s Flawed
Whether Rey’s “Mary Sue” label is fitting is debatable, but she certainly doesn’t have any flaws to overcome. She’s inexplicably great at everything she tries and fate is always on her side. Her flirtations with the dark side and occasionally uncontrollable anger could be seen as character flaws, but they never had any real consequences (e.g. Chewie’s fake-out death) and they were eventually brushed off as something she inherited from Grandpa Sheev.
Finn, on the other hand, has well-established flaws, like all great heroes. He has a history of doing bad things for the First Order, he’s initially a little clumsy with using lightsabers and the Force, and he needs to be convinced to believe in the Resistance’s cause.
NEXT: Star Wars: 5 Things To Like About The Sequel Trilogy (& 5 Fundamental Flaws)
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