From the very first shot of the very first trailer, we saw a look of fear and panic in Finn’s eyes as we heard the chirping of probe droids. From that moment we knew one thing about him: this is a guy in a lot of trouble and he knows it. But what else can we infer from the trailers? Quite a bit, it seems. Throw in a rumor or two and a narrative starts to form.
Possible spoilers below, most likely for the first act of the film.
So, what’s Finn’s deal?
We know, thanks to the armor and John Boyega’s testimony at Celebration Anaheim, that Finn is indeed a stormtrooper. But for how long? If the footage we’ve seen is to be believed, not very it seems. First, we’ll start off with a rumor that seems to fit with the information present in the trailers. Remember the shots of the First Order stormtroopers in the troop transport?
Well, it leads them to attacking and burning some kind of settlement. We’re not entirely sure why, but they are clearly joined (or led) by Kylo Ren, who seems to be singling someone out:
Could it be Finn? The going theory is that Finn is one of those stormtroopers, but is so disturbed by what he sees that he decides he wants no part of the First Order. Just look at his expression in this shot:
It’s possible Kylo Ren is attacking him or subduing him in some way. Either way, Finn needs to leave the First Order. The easiest way to do that is to steal a Tie Fighter:
So how does he go from flying through space to being on Jakku?
Well, like escapes so often go in Star Wars, not everything happens according to plan. Perhaps he has engine trouble, perhaps he’s shot down, or maybe he just plain old runs out of space gas. Somehow, Finn will find himself on a desert planet and meet up with Rey (or is her name Kira?).
It seems from there, the First Order finds him, leading to the two joining forces…
… just in time for them to (presumably) link up with the Millennium Falcon.
Alright, so we have a partial timeline for Finn in the film. What about the character?
Aside from being a stormtrooper and that (we are safe to assume) will eventually join the side of the Resistance, precious little. However, one big tid bit we have is this piece of concept art from Celebration Anaheim:
Aside from the swanky duds, you’ll notice Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber in Finn’s jacket, the same used by Luke in A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back and seen in this shot of The Force Awakens trailer:
So does that mean Finn is a Jedi?
No. It means he found a lightsaber. How he found a lightsaber lost on Bespin is unclear. It’s possible the saber was in the possession of the same guy who is hoarding Vader’s burnt mask and Finn steals it… though that is merely speculation.
So Finn isn’t a Jedi?
Again, that isn’t a certainty either. We simply don’t know at this point. However, if you break down the big three characters of the new trilogy: one is a pilot, one is a scavenger… and Finn is… something else. If you’re going to give a character a lightsaber, it makes sense to make him Force sensitive. It’s a solid bet that Finn’s arc will be similar to Luke’s in the Original Trilogy: from humble origins to Jedi Knight by the end of Episode IX.
Now, it’s very possible Finn won’t be the only character in the film who is Force sensitive (excluding Luke and Leia of course), but he’s very well positioned to have the most transformative arc in the trilogy. Think about it: he goes from being a faceless symbol of evil (a stormtrooper), to a righteous defender of of galactic peace (a Jedi Knight). If anything it’s something of a reverse Anakin Skywalker, which is quite a novel idea with which to kick off the new films.