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Why Finn Should Have Died In 'The Last Jedi'

by Culture Slate 9 months ago in star wars · updated 9 months ago
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Would This Sacrifice Have Enhanced It?

The Last Jedi is possibly the most maligned Star Wars film since The Phantom Menace. Arguably the film's biggest weakness is the change of director and how that affected the usage of characters without an overarching plan in place for the trilogy. Rian Johnson was clearly unsure of what to do with JJ Abrams characters, including Finn and how to treat his development. In the years since its premiere, fans have exhausted virtually every possible way that they would have improved on the film. One of the most commonly expressed changes would be to have Finn complete his self-sacrifice on Crait, piloting his V-4X-D ski-speeder into the maw of the First Orders battering ram laser cannon. While a character death in itself does not a story make, there are certainly merits to the idea of Finn sacrificing himself for the good of the Resistance; we will examine how Finn's death would have improved his character and his impact on the saga.

After their victory at Starkiller Base, the broken and battered Resistance flee to the abandoned mines of Crait with Kylo Ren and the First Order hot on their heels. Backed into a corner with seemingly no way out, the few survivors of the chase across the stars throw everything they have at the advancing First Order AT-M6s. With infantry troopers lining trenches that are very reminiscent of the defense of Hoth, Finn, Poe, and Rose piloting scavenged ski-speeders, and Rey and Chewbacca providing air support in the Millennium Falcon. As the Resistance retreats behind the reinforced doors of the mine, the First Order brings up their secret weapon, a cannon employing Death Star technology to vaporize the Resistance's final line of defense. Seeing that his friends are in danger, Finn directs his speeder down the maw of the cannon in a final effort to put the weapon out of commission.

Related: Did Han Solo Really Know Rey's Lineage?

Like many other fans who saw this movie in the theater, I thought we were about to witness the heroic and meaningful end of Finn as he throttled his speeder directly into the First Order's secret weapon. Rose's interruption of this sacrifice was jarring for most audience members and didn't make much sense in the moment. Especially considering they are both now stranded in the salt flats with the First Order closing in. Finn actually successfully destroying the cannon, perhaps even taking a walker or two with him, would have made for a better impact on the film and on the other Resistance characters. Finn's sacrifice, especially if it would have been the key to buying more time for Rey and the Falcon to rescue the Resistance, would have set the sequels' "big three" apart from Han, Luke, and Leia by removing a member and greatly changing the dynamic of Rey and Poe's relationship.

Finn's heroic sacrifice would also have helped to give him a place in a trilogy where he often seems to ride the back-burner. Finn could have made a better impact on the story, oddly enough, by dying in it. His choice to lay down his life for his friends and found-family, especially against the First Order who took him away from his biological family, could have been a fitting and poetic conclusion to his character. With the rewriting of the script of Episode IX and the omission of Finn leading a stormtrooper rebellion, his origins in the First Order seem unfulfilled. While he is able to guide Han and Chewbacca around Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens, there is no continuation or story elements gained out of one of the defining traits of Finn's character. His death could have served to further drive home the point that our choices are what make us who were are, a key theme to all three Sequel films. Finn's death would have served to make the First Order a legitimate threat, something that is often lacking in the Sequel Trilogy. Unlike the Galactic Empire of the original films, the First Order never quite feels like a valid galaxy-spanning threat. A victory of some kind, such as killing the traitorous FN-2187, would have been a huge step for setting up Supreme Leader Kylo Ren as a truly imposing villain for the final installment of the trilogy and making the fight even more personal for Rey and Poe.

Read More: 'Star Wars' Theory: Darth Maul Founded the Knights of Ren

Written By Weston Erickson

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