The Rey movie has the perfect opportunity to right Star Wars’ biggest wrong, and give John Boyega’s Finn the story he deserves

John Boyega in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Ever since Daisy Ridley’s return as Rey for a new Star Wars movie was announced, speculation has been rife about who else could come back. Theories have ranged from whether we’ll see Ben Solo as a Force ghost to whether a cameo highlighting Poe Dameron’s antics across the galaxy could be on the cards. But I think there’s one character who deserves a return more than most: John Boyega’s Finn.

I’m a staunch defender of the sequel trilogy, often going to bat for both The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker in group chats with my colleagues. Those films are filled with emotion and nostalgia for me, and they’re full of characters I deeply adore, too. However, even as a sequel apologist, I have a huge problem with Finn’s story. 

Boyega’s former stormtrooper burst onto the scene in The Force Awakens and instantly became one of the franchise’s most fascinating characters. He was played with warmth and comedy, as well as being a perfect companion to Rey in that first film, and was set up as a crucial pawn in the battle against the reawakening of evil in the galaxy. 

Then he was immediately sent to Canto Bight in The Last Jedi in the film’s main misstep, before being underused once again in The Rise of Skywalker where he felt more of a member of the gang than the co-lead he was introduced as. For me, the trajectory of Finn’s story is the most underserved of any other character in the trilogy – and that needs to be rectified. 

Unanswered questions

Daisy Ridley and John Boyega in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Lucasfilm wouldn’t have to look far for the inspiration to bring Finn back, either, as there’s a major plot point in his story still left unanswered. Way back in The Force Awakens, when we first saw him wield a lightsaber, the hints that Finn was Force-sensitive were tentatively introduced. Over the remainder of the trilogy, the teases kept on coming, too.

It was all but confirmed in The Rise of Skywalker, with everything from his conversation with Jannah about the Force to his sense of Rey’s fate at Exegol setting it up. Then, of course, there’s the moment where he references the "thing he never told Rey" when they’re in the tunnels of Pasaana.

Yet it remains just a hint that didn't get resolved in that final film, and we never got to see Finn wielding a lightsaber once again. While that’s a huge shame, this does feel like a perfect thread to follow in the new Rey film, which we know will be focused on her trying to rebuild the Jedi Order

Thankfully, I have an ally in the fight – Ridley herself. When asked if she’d want Finn to return as a Jedi Knight in the Rey film, she told Screen Rant: "That is above my pay grade. I would love to see that, but that is not a decision for me." Look, it’s not a huge admission, but her and Boyega’s dynamic in the sequel trilogy is one of its highlights, and it seems like Ridley agrees. Admittedly though, the person who may need the most convincing is Boyega himself, and with good reason, too. 

Obstacles to overcome

John Boyega in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Boyega has spoken very openly and eloquently about Finn’s trajectory in the trilogy, sharing his love for the world of Star Wars while also highlighting the issues with his character’s handling. Speaking to GQ most notably back in 2020, he told the publication: "What I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are, and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up."

Speaking about Finn's lack of development after the first film, he continued: "What they want you to say is, 'I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience...' Nah, nah, nah. I’ll take that deal when it’s a great experience. They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley. Let’s be honest. Daisy knows this. Adam knows this. Everybody knows. I’m not exposing anything."

He’s not, and it’s a huge hurdle to overcome. It’s not my place to say whether or not Lucasfilm can come up with the goods to right that wrong, either. Boyega previously told us that he’s focused on original storytelling at the moment, at least. 

Back in 2022, he said: "There is a big want and need for original films, rather than being stuck on a franchise for a long amount of time playing one character, that can sometimes get you typecast and misjudged. I'm enjoying playing individual characters and having to do the work and switch up every single film."

A glance at Boyega’s career proves this, too, as he's gone on to varied and interesting projects where he’s been able to play nuanced roles like Leroy Logan in Small Axe: Red, White and Blue and Fontaine in They Cloned Tyrone – as well as a particularly brilliant performance as Ghezo in The Woman King.

So, does he really want to return to a franchise that couldn’t utilize that talent? Well, that remains to be seen. All I know is that as a fan of Finn, I’d love to see his story completed in a way that does justice to him, as well as his past as FN-2187. And yes, it might be a pipe dream, but just never tell me the odds.

To celebrate Star Wars Day, check some of our other stories on the galaxy far, far away below:

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.