John Doom said:
So after watching this again, I’m wondering if the ending would have been better had Fin died. Probably not a popular opinion, but it would have been a powerful event for his character, and I’m struggling to think of what kind of unique role he could play in the rest of the trilogy. His arc seems kind of complete already.
Not a crazy proposition. This thought has crossed my mind many times since I first saw it.
I thought that too, but it’s partly for another reason: I know this is very unpopular, but I think Finn’s role in the movie feels, unfortunately, expandable. If you look at what he does in TFA, the only two things which move the plot forward are saving Poe (another hit-and-miss character, especially since he wasn’t originally supposed to come back in the third part of the movie) and helping Han find the panel to lower Starkiller’s shields. That’s it. The writers even struggled to make him relevant in the final duel, making Ben use the force to make Rey unconscious (he doesn’t do it anymore later) so Finn could fight him alone.
They could’ve switched him with another character and it still wouldn’t have really affected the plot, which I think is unfortunate: being a former stormtrooper, he could’ve been the best character in the movie, especially if they fleshed out more his internal conflicts. As he is now in TFA, he could’ve died and it would’ve still been alright, bacause he feels expendable (to me, at least).
The problem with Finn is that he’s really just a former stormtrooper-ino (in name only). Really, he acts nothing like an ex-stormtrooper. He’s just some dude (just a likeable goof who bumbles his way through the film). Which is indeed unfortunate because a former stormtrooper as a character has a lot of potential for exploration and development. But Finn’s lack of depth really is just a symptom of the bigger problem. Which is the disappointing reality that The Force Awakens is actually a pretty shallow movie. Mostly, it’s just your typical mediocre Hollywood Sci-Fi action film with only the trappings from the original Star Wars trilogy to raise it’s profile. It’s not that it was horrible (they did manage to avoid the overt stupidity of the prequels), but the film played it too safe (mostly consisting of a steady procession of OT characters/vehicles/themes that would conveniently pop up between/during the many action scenes…"Oooo, look! It’s the Millennium Falcon! pause for applause…Oh, and there’s Han Solo! pause for applause…And look there! Another Death Star…but BIGGER! crickets chirping).
Now the film wasn’t WHOLLY inadequate. There were a few decent parts too. For instance, I mostly liked what they did with Kylo Ren. But then all the time they spent developing his character is wasted when he eventually comes across Rey and her whole waltzing through the movie doing her “anything you can do, I can do better” routine. I mean, really…You’re going to have the obligatory lightsaber duel in the finale feature three characters, only one of which has any training with an actual lightsaber (and he still loses because, you know, there’s this certain protagonist that happens to be naturally great at just about everything…on demand). I guess J.J. knew he wasn’t going to be around for the following films. So, he wanted to have the payoff for her character at the end of this first film (but it just seems all too easy and unearned).
Unfortunately, the Force Awakens has taken most of the wind out the sails of my anticipation for Episode VIII.
But whatever…At least Rogue One was really good.