One of the most compelling character arcs in the Star Wars sequel trilogy belongs to Finn, a character who breaks away from his assigned role as a stormtrooper to become a central figure in the Resistance’s struggle against the First Order. In the hierarchy of the First Order, he is known not by a name, but by a number: FN-2187.
FN-2187: The Stormtrooper
Introduced in “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens,” Finn is initially presented as FN-2187, a stormtrooper serving the First Order. The First Order, a military dictatorship risen from the remnants of the Galactic Empire, raises its stormtroopers from a young age to be soldiers, denying them individual identities and reducing them to their alphanumeric designations.
Finn’s stormtrooper designation, FN-2187, has significance within the broader Star Wars universe. The number 2187 is a recurring motif in Star Wars; it is a reference to “21-87,” a short film by Arthur Lipsett that had a significant influence on George Lucas.
The Transformation to Finn
Finn’s transformation from an anonymous stormtrooper to a named character symbolizes his journey towards individuality and freedom. After a traumatic battle on Jakku, where he witnesses the brutality of the First Order firsthand, FN-2187 decides to desert.
His new name, Finn, is given to him by Resistance pilot Poe Dameron during their daring escape from a First Order Star Destroyer. Poe uses the “FN” from his stormtrooper designation and adds “inn,” thus creating the name “Finn.” From this point on, he rejects his stormtrooper designation and embraces his new identity.
Finn’s Journey and Legacy
Finn’s journey from FN-2187 to a hero of the Resistance is one of the most dynamic arcs in the sequel trilogy. He overcomes his fear, rejects the path laid out for him by the First Order, and chooses to fight for a cause he believes in. Finn’s evolution emphasizes the theme of choice and individuality versus conformity, a core aspect of the Star Wars saga.
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