THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
Now that the final film in the trilogy, and the entire Skywalker Saga, has released I want to rant ONE LAST TIME about the love that a small group of us hoped for, but alas, was not to be; Finn and Poe.
(queue endless grunts and loud “shut the F*** up”s from the back)
I know, I know there is no point in really diving into it as it is now impossible for such a thing to exist in the Star Wars canon! However, I did want to get off my chest just why it could have worked and how the choices that did make the cut were completely flat.
One was Saved/One was Given a Name: We open this trilogy with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) as he is seeking the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker. On Jakku he is ambushed by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order where we also meet a conflicted FN-2187 (John Boyega).
Ultimately, Poe is taken hostage and FN-2187, after witnessing the murder of innocents, says F***(clap) THIS (clap).
What proceeds is a small drop of comedy after FN-2187 decides to save Poe from certain death. Poe asks the stormtrooper why he is saving him and he responds, “it’s the right thing to do.” Poe, newly discovered in The Rise of Skywalker, comes from a pretty shady past and knows BS when he smells it. He calls him out and says, “You need a pilot,” to which FN-2187 admits is his true intention for the brave deed.
It’s a fun bit of humor! Yes, FN-2187’s motives aren’t noble, but let’s be real! He isn’t for most of the movie! Even after he meets Rey and develops whatever feelings he does, he still seems adamant to get as far away from the First Order as possible.
The thing I want to highlight about Finn and Poe’s escape is a moment they share in the TIE fighter. It’s not romantic, it’s not intimate, but it’s CERTAINLY a foundation for something should Abrams, Johnson, Disney, are anyone have wanted to use it; FN-2187 tells Poe his name and Poe, the Resistance pilot, says F*** that- I’m going to call you Finn.
It’s small! However, Finn saved Poe’s life and Poe then gave FN-2187 a name separate from the life of enslavement he had lead. That’s something.
Finn and Rey: After Finn lands on Jakku and strips his stormtrooper gear in exchange for the jacket that the (presumed dead) Poe Dameron was wearing (yet another seed for use should anyone have cared) he comes into contact with the protagonist and hero of the story, Rey.
Yes, there is no doubt that Finn had his eye on Rey. This was clear. He liked her. He wanted to be impressive in front of her. He lied to look better for her. He went against his selfish desires to protect her. He took on Kylo Ren with a lightsaber and got slashed in the back for her. I know. It’s there.
However, what WASN’T there was consistency in the writing. The LastJedi’s greatest weakness, in my opinion, was how Finn, a leading character and member of the trio, was handled. Yes- F***** Canto Bight REALLY registers as the tumor of this trilogy.
THINK about it- He was interested in Rey in the first film, in the second he gets shipped off to a casino-donkey planet with a new character that the audience didn’t like him with (we know it’s true, she did nothing in TROS), and ultimately he fell victim to the real enemy- the friend zone.
While he was F**** up rich people’s gambling with Rose, Rey was off getting Force comfy with the conflicted Kylo Ren. What The Last Jedi did establish was that there was very much solid chemistry between these two force wielding characters. Alas, The Rise of Skywalker adds a new layer of beauty to the pair as its established Rey is indeed a Palpatine, and the they are the grandchildren of two of the most powerful beings, the ones that brought about the rise of the Galactic Empire, and the death of the Jedi Order… Yeah, sorry Finn, that’s gonna be a “no” for Rey, dawg.
Ultimately, this cancelled out ANY and all romantic foundation work that was build in the Force Awakens for Rey and Finn. Then, with the fandom not finding any f**** in their bags to give for Finn and Rose, there was quite the dilemma for what to do with him in the finale. It showed.
Jannah and Zorii: It’s a finale ya’ll! We all know that when an epic is coming to a close it is written in blood that EVERYONE that is a main character must have a means to “happily ever after.” What is that? A love interest of course! (Except the hero. By rules of mythology and tales of heroes, they are often sexless. Luke, for example, follows suit).
Finn is second fiddle to Kylo so Rey is naturally off the table. Yes, Kylo Ren is dead. Aware. This means Rey is very much a single jedi and Finn is revealed to be Force sensitive. The dinner table is certainly set for the two of them to revisit some s***. However, this may have been goodbye to these characters forever! With Rey HAVING to close the deal with Kylo for the sake of story, and Rose being demoted to “lady hanging out at the base playing angry birds”, our leading guy had to be hooked up with someone FAST. So who do we get? Ah, Jannah.
No, they do not kiss. No, there is no confession of love (you just met- that would be psycho-talk), but Abrams alludes to their pairing enough; they are both former stormtroopers, they both have the exact same turning on the First Order story (how convenient), and she is committed to staying close to him as he commits to dying with the ship. The issue with Jannah is that she felt so painfully unnecessary. I’m not saying that because I’m salty for #FinnPoe, but because this is already the LAST Star Wars movie in this saga, it’s already CHALK full of characters, and this is very clearly some shoehorned s***.
If Finn HAD to have a lady by the end of this, they should have just let him stay with Rose! She was already introduced, and it would have saved us some time.
Now, while on the subject of saving time…Zorii. Keri Russell, I love you, we share a birthday, but my dear-no. We already had to go to that planet to get a dagger, now C3PO won’t translate it, and now we have to go to this planet to bypass the wiring (I know, I’m losing interest just typing it) ALL so we can give Poe some more depth that was neglected in the last two movies and introduce a female character for him to smooch when the war is done.
No, they didn’t kiss. No, they didn’t confess their love. Yet, exactly like Jannah, Zorii comes in for this (pointless) scene to tell Poe she hates him, wants to kill him, and then after Poe acts dreamy on a roof for twenty minutes with a snack she gives up her only ticket off that ice planet of hell…Ha ok.
The point is, the introductions of these characters hurt the film, were boring, and lacked any deep reward because they were shoved in there for the sake of getting as close to a pretty bow ending as we could. They were unnecessary additions when there was already a strong option for both male leads all along…each other.
It Didn’t Need Much: Now, the people who are annoyed with the #FinnPoe shipping can and will argue that they didn’t spend too much time together in Force Awakens (yet Finn running towards Poe after finding out he’s alive was enough foundation for me). They can also highlight that they didn’t spend ANY time together in The Last Jedi. Fair. Though really none of the trio spent any time together in that movie thus also cancelling out the reality of Finn with Rey (also because she was busy falling in love with Kylo).
The Rise of Skywalker takes place ONE YEAR after The Last Jedi. The resistance has been desperate for help after their numbers have been dwindled to nothing. In this gap Poe and Finn have been spending a lot of time together aboard the Millennium Falcon trying to find help and rally people of the galaxy to their cause. There is more than enough space here for some connection to have formed between the two.
Some will ask, “How can that work though if we know he already liked Rey and Rose?” Well, this might blow your mind so hold your skulls, sexuality is a spectrum. We as a culture have not graduated to understanding connection can go beyond the first layer of intimacy which is sexual interest. There is then vulnerability, understanding, partnership, and friendship.
One of the things that most stood out to me in The Rise of Skywalker is that Poe Dameron is one grumpy SOB! He is virtually annoyed with EVERYONE…except… his space buddy Finn. Rewatch it! Besides shoehorned Zorii the ONLY character that gives this man pause is Finn.
Poe is so often yelling Finn’s name with joy; it’s actually some of the only times we see this stubborn mule smile! Had Jannah and Zorii not been forced into this film they could have established this relationship with very little changes to what we did see between them.
We didn’t need a love scene nor a makeout scene. We’re aware this is Disney. You could have literally done a gesture similar to the (bulls****) lesbian kiss at the end of the film but at the beginning. A gesture to show that these two, in the time we left them last, had found their way to each other and then have left their scenes together just as they were.
Finn puts Poe in check and makes him reflect, Poe doesn’t disrespect or come at Finn, and in the end of the film when Finn is about to meet his end for attempting to give up his life (again) for the greater good, Poe was the first character racing to the falling Starship to save him.
The trilogy opened with Finn saving his life from a Starship, it would have ended with Poe doing the same for him. Full Circle.
What’s Going On: It’s great to hear Oscar Isaac say in interviews he was leaning on playing the connection his character had with Finn as romantic. It’s funny to see John Boyega play into the “bromance” during all the promo for this film, and it’s annoying as all F***** F*** to read JJ Abrams say “That relationship to me is a far deeper one than a romantic one.”
What. The. Actual. F****.
We have to call this what it really is. A business. Though US audiences might get over seeing the love between two men or two women, these films are expected to perform globally. The reality is that there are many markets (cough, China, cough) that won’t tolerate two men in love in a blockbuster. Therefore, the studio plays it safe.
It’s frustrating to see stories that are at their core, about courage, standing up for what is right, embracing the power of love, and not giving into fear- for that is the path to the dark side, ultimately surrender to the fear of losing those big bucks internationally.
I know! I’m not ten! I know how the world works and the importance of business. I hope there can be a space in the future where “representation” evolves from LaFou dancing with a guy for three seconds in the background by the pigs in a blanket to someone proudly front and center. A character that is gay and not a “gay character.” That a day might come where we have the chance to help save the day as well. Unfortunately, that day did not come in a galaxy far, far way…..
…………..But F*** it, numbers are in and The Rise of Skywalker is projected to open to a mere 2.2 million in China placing fourth in its opening weekend.
REALLY should have just let the dudes love each other if that was going to be the case.