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John Boyega as Finn screaming for Rey in Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker

John Boyega’s Finn has been on an impressive journey since first arriving on the big screen in 2015. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens we saw him go from being a Stormtrooper to a rebel, and in Star Wars: The Last Jedi the scope of what he cares in the universe broadened with a greater understanding of what the Resistance is fighting for.

It’s all set up a key final chapter for the character in the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, and for Boyega, the watchword in Finn’s development this time around is strength.

For the actor’s full thoughts on the matter, hit play on the video below from our interview with the star at the Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker press day in Los Angeles earlier this month:

While sitting down with the various members of the Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker cast, one question that I consistently asked was in regard to the actors’ comfortability exerting a certain authority over their particular role going into the third chapter of the trilogy. Daisy Ridley opened up about a plot idea for Rey that she vetoed, Adam Driver discussed the importance of maintaining an open mind in regard to external input, and John Boyega explained what was most important for him when discussing Finn with J.J. Abrams in the development of the new film.

Boyega admitted that it’s common that actors don’t always get a ton of say into the character developments that play out in massive blockbusters, but having the experience of both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi allowed him to exert more assertiveness in the making of the new movie. The actor had the authority to tell J.J. Abrams what he wanted to see happen in the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga, and, in a bit of a meta twist, that included letting Finn have a bit more authority.

Over the years I've gotten to know Finn much more. Most of the time you're just waiting to hear what the writer has put to page when considering your character, and for me on this one, one thing I did want through this whole transition was for Finn to elevate and to advance; to definitely be much more strong, have much more confidence. That was something that I really hoped that was embedded in there.

It’s certainly a sensible approach given where we last left Finn in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fans will remember that he was fully prepared to give his life for the Resistance in aim of stopping a battering ram from ending the movement, demonstrating how he had grown and how his perspective had shifted. That was the move of a confident character, so it makes all kinds of sense that aspect of his personality would only further develop over the course of the next year – which is where Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker picks up the story.

The good news for John Boyega was that J.J. Abrams was on the same page about the direction of the character, and fully ready to develop those ideas into the script he was co-writing along with Chris Terrio. In fact, as the actor explained, it was part of Finn’s arc that the director had in mind from his work on the first feature in this Star Wars trilogy. Said Boyega,

I had honest discussions with, with J.J. about my feelings about previous movie, Last Jedi, and, and how we saw Finn moving forward, and he agreed with me. He was just kinda like, 'OK, cool.' His plan anyway from Force Awakens was for Finn to always have an undeniable strength about him, and this was the movie where we could get to explore that. So I was excited about that.

Where Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker takes Finn’s journey is certainly one of the most anticipated elements of the upcoming blockbuster, and the wait is basically over to see it play out. The film is arriving in theaters this weekend, with the first public screenings set to start tonight. After you see the movie, be sure to head back to this site, as we have a ton of excellent feature, editorial, and video coverage coming your way, dissecting the film, and what it means not only for the legacy of Star Wars, but for pop culture moving forward.