WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for director Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in theaters now.
The current Star Wars trilogy has been built on introducing new characters that seem like updated versions of franchise favorites. From the release of the earliest details of 2015’s The Force Awakens, fans began to wonder how Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron would become the next-generation equivalent of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo. By the time that film concluded, we thought we had a pretty good idea that, if nothing else, Rey would be our Luke, and Finn and Poe would respectively fill the roles of Han and Leia. Instead, the Luke Skywalker of this story may actually be the First Order Stormtrooper turned Resistance fighter, Finn.
To be clear, that isn’t meant to take away from Rey’s impact, both within the Star Wars universe and without. But as far as being a figurehead for the Resistance, like Luke was as the “true” Chosen One, she’s not there… yet. Admittedly, that’s part of the point of her story, that she ultimately doesn’t need to be anyone but herself to be special. Poe, however, is thrust into more of a leadership role for the Resistance by the end of the film, thanks to Leia’s tutelage. And in some ways, his importance to the Resistance comes from being the son of two Rebel fighters who fought with Han and Leia. But whereas Poe and Rey didn’t really need to be anyone else in order to be who they currently are, Finn absolutely did. Were he not a Stormtrooper convinced to turn, his story simply wouldn’t resonate and work as well as it does.
His and Luke’s journeys mirror one another’s in ways that you wouldn’t expect at first glance, with the most obvious being hero worship and how they come to accept it. Once he’s healed from his wounds, the first thing that Finn does is try to ditch the Resistance via escape pod. Luke has already spent the last couple of decades eking out the rest of his days wracked with guilt, and it’s easy to imagine that if Finn had abandoned his friends both times, he’d eventually have the same regrets as well. He would’ve beat himself up about it for years and constantly debated going back to what remained of the Resistance, only to just back out due to cowardice and shame.
Now, hero worship isn’t anything new to the sequel trilogy; after all, both Rey and Finn experienced it when they first met Han Solo. If there’s a lesson to be learned from Awakens and Last, it’s that meeting your heroes can be both uplifting and disappointing at the same time. Both Han and Finn chose to run, only to come back to the fight; it seemed as though Finn was taking over the new Han. What puts Finn closer to Luke territory, however, is that instead of just shrugging off his monumental status, Finn and Luke both chose to weaponize it for the Resistance.
Page 2: How Luke And Finn Use Their Heroism
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