In the Star Wars sequel series, one of the fan-favorite characters was John Boyega’s Finn. His adventures through the three films gave Star Wars fans a new hero to root for as he took on the First Order.
But some fans saw his rivalry with the stormtrooper character Captain Phasma leaving something to be desired. After a little more analysis, however, it’s clear that the final fight between the two in The Last Jedi wasn’t a total waste. Here’s why.
The Finn vs. Phasma relationship in the ‘Star Wars’ films
Finn begins The Force Awakens as a stormtrooper who is disgusted with his actions. He’s unable to kill on behalf of the dastardly First Order. After a crisis of conscience, he frees a prisoner (Resistance pilot Poe Dameron) and crash lands on the planet Jakku where he eventually meets Rey and begins his adventure.
Captain Phasma is Finn’s superior officer — the leader of his legion of stormtroopers. Finn rather easily dispatches of her alongside Han Solo and Chewbacca when they return to Starkiller Base to rescue Rey. In The Last Jedi, he is intercepted by Phasma alongside Rose Tico while attempting to infiltrate a First Order ship.
He ends up doing battle with Phasma and with the help of Rose, bests her in hand to hand combat. She then perishes as the ship collapses.
Phasma represents everything negative about the First Order to Finn — its oppressive nature and the violence he abhors. She also serves to help his character develop.
Finn’s arc during ‘The Last Jedi’
At the beginning of The Last Jedi, Finn has one real goal: to find his friend, Rey. Sure, he has no love for the First Order. But he’s not as interested in the cause of the Resistance as he is in getting to his friend. The last time Finn saw her, it was while he was in battle with Kylo Ren. Now he wants to get to her to ensure her safety.
Finn’s journey throughout the film takes him to a casino on a planet called Canto Blight where he and Rose see the galaxy’s wealthiest celebrating while overlooking child slaves on the same planet. He comes to understand what the Resistance is truly fighting against.
Their issue with the First Order goes beyond individual battles in space. It’s about fighting injustice and totalitarianism throughout the galaxy.
Why Finn and Phasma’s fight wasn’t a total waste
A huge turning point for Finn’s character is when he fights Phasma near the final act of The Last Jedi. As noted above, the fight is brutal. Finn ultimately wins, but it means more than just besting one person in a fight. Finn also realizes his true purpose in the greater war.
A Reddit thread dedicated to this fight noted how much one poster loved the way this fight pushed Finn over the top as a true member of the Resistance, saying:
“This is easily my favorite Finn moment in the entire Sequel Trilogy. Seeing him stand up and defeat his abuser as well as solidifying himself as a full fledged Resistance member was amazing. Easily my favorite arc for his character out of all three films.”
In this scene, Phasma calls Finn scum, to which he corrects her, saying he is, “Rebel scum.” It’s more than just a callback to a catchphrase from an earlier Star Wars film (though surely fans appreciated the nod to Star Wars lore there).
It’s also Finn asserting himself as a part of the cause intending to take the First Order down.
It’s a powerful moment. Some fans felt Phasma was wasted as a character, but that’s because they don’t realize her true role: to serve as a foil to the hero Finn would become.