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SYFY WIRE Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker

J.J. Abrams promises The Rise of Skywalker will shed 'more light' on Finn's origin

By Matthew Jackson & Josh Weiss
Star Wars Finn and poe

Back in 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced us to several new characters who would serve as the driving forces of a new trilogy in a galaxy far, far away. Later this month, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will conclude that trilogy, and the entire Skywalker Saga, with a film that promises to shed more light on the origins of those new characters, including the former stormtrooper who became a Resistance hero, Finn.

In terms of what we know about the major new characters from The Force Awakens so far, Kylo Ren and Poe Dameron have the most illuminated pasts, and Rey is easily the character who's drawn the most speculation, thanks to the still-mysterious hints about who her parents may or may not have been. "Who are Rey's parents?" might be the most frequently asked question in the Star Wars fandom over the last four years, and even though The Last Jedi seemed to offer an answer, The Rise of Skywalker director and co-writer J.J. Abrams has promised that there's more to Rey's story than what we already know. But Rey's not the only character who deserves to have her background filled in.

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Abrams noted that The Rise of Skywalker will also dig at least a little deeper into Finn's origins, providing a greater context for his tragic childhood than the pieces we've already assembled. When we met Finn, played by John Boyega, he was a First Order stormtrooper who didn't even have a proper name. We call him Finn because that's what Poe called him after learning that the closest thing to a name he had was his trooper designation, FN-2187. Like many other stormtroopers in the First Order, he was abducted from his family at a young age and put through conditioning that was supposed to make him an unquestioning and devoted soldier. Now, as the sequel trilogy comes to an end, we'll get to learn a little more about how that all went down.

finn and jannah

“It is part of the story of this one,” Abrams said. “And it was alluded to in Episode VII, but there’s a bit more light shed on that in this one.”

Of course, because this is J.J. Abrams we're talking about, we don't really know what "a bit more light" means in the greater context of the Rise of Skywalker story. We could be set for a single scene, an ongoing subplot that runs the length of the film, or just a casual mention of Finn's past that plants the seed for a lot of deeper thought about the character. Finn's background as a child soldier seems both tragic and rather cut and dried, but there's also something about him that sets him apart from his fellow troopers. Something in him was calling out, begging to be freed during those years of training, and it finally snapped that day on Jakku when he couldn't pull the trigger and take an innocent life.

Abrams also noted that he and co-writer Chris Terrio "went into this movie very much in the mindset that this has to be conclusive," so explaining what it is about Finn that turned him into a hero of the Resistance seems to fit with that overall goal, even if it does turn out to be a small part of the story. In fact, Abrams went on to explain that the sentiment doesn't even stop with Finn.

“I would say that each of the characters get more light shed on their histories,” Abrams added. “I’m not saying we get full, exhaustive downloads on all of their childhoods and every major step that got them to where they are. But there are a lot of questions about Finn’s past, about Poe’s past, obviously Rey and Kylo, and then some of the new characters we meet.”

Thanks to a one-year time jump, the characters—even those who have shared very little screen time (like Rey and Poe)—will have an established, lived-in dynamic once the story begins.

"Rey and Poe, essentially, are only in one scene together really so far in this trilogy," Abrams said during a chat with most of the cast at Galaxy's Edge earlier today. "No one’s ever really seen them together. So, one of the things I think that’s really fun about this movie is coming in to see not just how the Finn and Poe dynamic has evolved [but] obviously [the dynamic] between Rose and Finn and even Rey and Rose. Also, the fact that these characters get to be in scenes together and you really feel that time has passed and they’ve developed a kind of relationship and there’s a great spark and dynamic between all of them. To me, the most fun about this movie is getting to see the whole gang on an adventure together. Everyone has their role and their part, but to have that group adventure, that was always sort of at the heart of what Star Wars was for me. I’m just really happy to get to do that.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives, with new backstory details and all, on December 20.