At this point, it was argued to the death, and rightly so, that the main problem with the star wars The sequel trilogy is that the writing is inconsistent between the films and there was no overall plan for the story, leading to many plot threads being introduced and then dropped. by the following filmmaker. Obviously, each film in the series should be its own story and perhaps expand on themes that the others haven’t touched on, but the stories should always be somewhat overarching and fit together. Otherwise, some ideas are introduced into a movie and never discussed again.
That’s exactly what happened with Finn’s Stormtrooper storyline. In general, many elements of Finn’s story and character were dropped after the force awakens, which makes him feel like a somewhat two-dimensional character. The widely circulated joke about him doing nothing in most sequel movies except to scream Rey’s name is a little too specific, and it’s really odd that these movies got the chance to explore a also nuanced and interesting concept with stormtroopers but let it down. almost immediately.
star wars could really benefit from exploring new storylines and themes rather than just going back to old ones and relying on nostalgia all the time. The movies always seem to go back to the same characters and the same ideas about legacy and family and good versus evil that have been done many times before. It’s not like these characters or stories aren’t interesting, but it’s like star wars keep going in circles rather than trying to branch out with their themes and try something newer or bolder. Stormtrooper’s story might have been just that if they hadn’t bailed out like they did.
In the force awakens, the audience is introduced to Finn, a stormtrooper who flees the First Order because his goals and opinions no longer align with theirs, and he must learn to be his own person and join the Resistance when he never was. allowed to be an individual before. In fact, he didn’t even have a proper name until he gave himself one. It’s such an interesting concept that the star wars the movies hadn’t been explored, and the idea of learning more about what it means to be a soldier for bad guys the way stormtroopers might have been so interesting.
Instead, the show decides to never talk about it again after the first movie (unless it suits the plot, such as when they need Finn to have intimate knowledge of a First Order base. in order to be able to infiltrate it) and the focus of the story shifts completely away from Finn. Yes, Rey is the main character in the sequel trilogy, but it seemed like they were also setting up Finn to be a secondary protagonist in the first film, to move away from that altogether. Not only does this do John Boyega’s character and performance in the role a disservice, but it also means they’ve given up on one of the most interesting storylines of that first movie.
Stormtroopers are notoriously anonymous, and for good reason. Having faceless villains for the heroes to fight means it doesn’t make the heroes look like bad people if they’re constantly killing evil buddies. You don’t want to see Luke Skywalker as a murderer, and it’s much easier to avoid that comparison when the stormtroopers he mows down feel like non-human robots with no feelings or compulsion other than to serve the Empire. However, it’s a really interesting thought experiment to consider if the stormtroopers are suddenly full people, like Finn. Obviously, he’s a special case as he has enough independent thought to free himself, but it calls into question the degree of agency of the other stormtroopers.
Yes star wars wants to continue exploring the “good versus evil” (or rather, light side versus dark side) debate, it would have been cool to have the heroes confronted with the question of whether or not killing stormtroopers makes them murderers, now that t has been proven that stormtroopers can also have an inner life. Sure, it’s a war, but that doesn’t make killing another human any less traumatic, and yet it’s something the show never struggles with when it comes to stormtroopers or other faceless “bad” soldiers.
They also could have expanded Finn’s character further with this story, and maybe delve into his past traumas as a First Order agent, or maybe even explore any sort of brainwashing or propaganda these stormtroopers might have suffered in order to keep their allegiances stable. Finn would have had a lot of ideology to unlearn after breaking free from that environment, and it could have been a really poignant allegory for concrete examples of leaving an ideology you were raised in but don’t believe in anymore, like a religion or an abusive family situation.
But sadly, none of that happened, and the storyline was scrapped so quickly it’s hard to remember it ever existed in the first place. It was a storyline with so much potential that was marred by poor planning, which is honestly a statement that goes for the sequel trilogy as a whole. Maybe it’s something that star wars might explore in a future project, but it’s still so weird that it seems like the sequels were going to tackle the issue but decided to throw it away. If the franchise is going to continue to last, they’re going to have to start looking at different themes in this vast universe, and maybe explore topics they haven’t touched on before, rather than rehashing the same conflicts over and over again.
NEXT: Star Wars and Racism: How Disney Failed John Boyega and Finn
The Phantom Menace is an ambitious film where George Lucas deviates greatly from what many expected.
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