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

What The Rise of Skywalker novelization tells us about Finn and his connection to the Force

By Matthew Jackson
Finn and Poe in Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may be the final film in the Skywalker Saga, but that doesn't mean there aren't still plenty of narrative threads left dangling and questions left unanswered. The film's story and its cast of characters are vast, and there's only so much ground a single film can cover, so naturally there are still a few mysteries fans are still dissecting months after the film was released. Thankfully, we now have Rae Carson's excellent novelization of the film to help us along with that. 

So, with that in mind, what does the novelization tell us about one of the most important lingering questions from the film: Was Finn Force sensitive?

**Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's official novelization ahead.**

The Rise of Skywalker famously (or infamously, depending on who you ask) includes a scene in which, faced with the prospect of death, Finn shouts to Rey that he "never told" her something, only to be cut off by the sinking fields they're trapped in. Rey tries to revisit this later, but Finn never feels comfortable following up. For some fans, this was interpreted as a moment in which Finn wanted tell Rey he had feelings for her, but both John Boyega and director/co-writer J.J. Abrams have downplayed that theory. 

For Abrams specifically, though he made it clear he wanted Finn's arc open to interpretation, the moment apparently pointed to Finn wanting to tell Rey that he was Force-sensitive. This interpretation is backed up, as we've already broken down, by numerous moments in the film in which Finn seems guided by a pure sense of instinct. He seems to just innately know what the right thing to do is in certain important moments, including during the Battle of Exegol at the end of the film. Still, after the dust has settled, he still hasn't definitively said what he was going to share with Rey. 

If you were hoping for some kind of definitive statement on Finn's Force sensitivity in The Rise of Skywalker novelization, you're sadly out of luck. Carson's novel looks to preserve at least some of the ambiguity that Abrams was looking for with the film, leaving the final word on Finn's power or lack thereof very much open to interpretation. That said, there are a couple of key moments added that, like Abrams' own interpretation, lean in the direction of the Force. 

As in the film, Finn spends the novel having certain feelings that seem to be guiding him, but because Carson is able to write Finn's thoughts as well as his action, we gain more context about some of them. On the page, as on the screen, he actually feels the moment when Rey dies after vanquishing Palpatine in the Sith citadel. Here's how the book describes his internal reaction:

"She was gone. He had just begun to understand how her presence could weigh so strongly in his mind. He should have told. He'd meant to."

So, while this could be interpreted as some of sort of instinctual sense about the woman he loves, it does lean toward The Force, and Finn understanding that he can feel other people through it. Then, there's the moment when Ben Solo uses his own Force gifts to revive Rey. Finn feels that too, to the point that, in the novel, he shouted out "Chewie, I felt her!" while onbard the Millennium Falcon, confirming to another person that he has a sense about Rey that seems to go beyond mere instinct. 

Then, there's the added context of that hug Finn, Poe, and Rey share when they're runited on Ajan Kloss after the bottle. In the book, Finn whispers to Rey that he's been meaning to tell her something. This is Rey's reaction:

"I know," she said, thinking of the way his presence had become so bright in her mind.

Carson goes on to describe the moment between the three friends as "a connection separate from the Force and in its own way just as powerful," but the implication is still there. Finn and Rey have a growing awareness of each other's minds outside of their friendship, and while the novel is determined to preserve some ambiguity, it doesn't feel like something that's romantic. It feels like the clear implication, once again, is that Finn is growing stronger in The Force, and one day soon he'll start learning how to control. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's official novelization is available now.