Within the raucous, uneven adventure that is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, there persists at least one glaring plot hole that lingers after the credits roll. We never learn what Finn tries — and fails — to tell Rey early in the movie. What does he so desperately need to say that he can’t reveal to Poe? Is Finn in love with Rey? The more likely explanation is something much more profound.
Spoilers follow for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Early in the film, while on the desert planet of Pasaana trying to track down the Sith loyalist Ochi’s ship and the “wayfinder” he had years ago, several of the main characters wind up in a “sinking pit.” BB-8, Rey, Finn, Poe, and Chewbacca all struggle but are sucked underground. While everyone panics, Finn tries to make a desperate confession:
“Rey! Rey!” Finn shouts. “I never told you — !” … and he gets a mouthful of sand.
This moment is referenced later in the movie when Finn, Poe, and Chewbacca are about to be executed aboard Kylo Ren’s Star Destroyer in orbit around Kijimi. “What were you going to tell Rey before?” Poe asks. Finn doesn’t respond, they start bickering, Hux saves them at the last second, and we go the rest of the movie having no idea what Finn was going to say. They’re always too busy almost dying to have that conversation.
Most people’s immediate reaction is probably to assume the bland, obvious explanation: “Rey! I never told you … that I love you!” But the Rise of Skywalker prequel novel Resistance Reborn confirmed that Finn is “just friends” with Rey — and with Rose, despite their Last Jedi kiss.
Since Finn met Rey in The Force Awakens, a lot of fans projected some kind of romantic tension onto their relationship even though it’s very clearly a friends vibe. One deleted scene from The Last Jedi addresses Finn’s “crush on Rey,” but whatever romantic tensions that may have been there in Episode VII and Episode VIII vanished when Finn and Rose bonded in The Last Jedi, even more so when Finn and Jannah bond in The Rise of Skywalker. So what gives?
The obvious answer is that, by this point, Finn has realized that he’s Force-sensitive, and he wanted to tell Rey that he could feel the Force.
The Force Awakens goes out of its way to tell us that Finn is not Force-sensitive with Han Solo’s iconic line, “That’s not how the Force works!” But it’s clear at this point that the title “The Force Awakens” applies to both Rey and Finn. Most of the film’s marketing implied that Finn would pick up the blue lightsaber and be the new Jedi hero, but when Rey took center stage, it was a bit surprising.
The Rise of Skywalker makes it abundantly clear that Finn has become Force-sensitive in several scenes. He intuitively knows that Rey is the one flying Luke Skywalker’s X-wing to Exogol. He also intuitively knows that the relay beacon is being broadcast from Allegiant General Pryde’s Star Destroyer.
Finn doesn’t send hundreds of troops to the ship based on a hunch. He does it because he knows for sure. He can feel all of these things through the Force in much the same way Leia began to feel things towards the end of Empire Strikes Back and throughout Return of the Jedi.
There’s also the conversation between Finn and Jannah where he straight-up says it was the Force that compelled him to abandon the First Order. And if that’s the case, Jannah herself and all the other former stormtroopers could also be drawn by the Force.
We should also consider that after everyone is sucked into the tunnels on Pasaana they also seem pretty shook up. Even Rey is bumbling around, but Finn calmly walks into the scene. When they encounter the snake that Rey heals, she hands the ignited lightsaber to Finn, who continues holding it. Anybody can wield a lightsaber (recall that even Han Solo used Luke’s lightsaber to slice open that poor Tauntaun in Empire Strikes Back), but these two moments being placed so closely together feels telling. We’re meant to draw a connection between Finn and the Force.
If there’s one plotline that The Rise of Skywalker could follow up on with some kind of Disney+ series or another movie, it’s that Rey will inevitably train Finn in the ways of the Force. Let’s just hope John Boyega didn’t mean it when he told Variety he’d never do a show for the streaming platform.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters.