Speculation: The Hero Question for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
We know our two young leads, and there has been much discussion over which one could be considered the singular “hero” of the new trilogy. Is it the charismatic Boyega and his defecting stormtrooper, or the stunning Ridley and her mysterious scavenger. Hit the jump to read Bluestreaking’s speculation on who will be our “main” hero in Episode VII.
By now we all know the roles of Finn and Rey and most of us know the copious amount of rumors and speculation for both characters. While not visible yet there are two lines of thought over who will be the hero of Episode VII, Finn or Rey. Making an assumption I have personally seen the majority of commenters and posters on the Cantina favoring Rey as the lead but there is evidence suggesting Finn as the main lead. This evidence has to do with a certain lightsaber.
This piece of concept art shows Finn with the weapon of a Jedi Knight, and not just any Jedi Knight, the lightsaber of the legendary Skywalker family. He was also granted the first appearance in the highly anticipated first teaser for Episode VII. While the marketing campaign hasn’t begun in earnest it is within the realm of possibility that there will be a heavy Finn focused marketing campaign.
While we do have the practical reasoning behind Finn there is heavy symbolism with Rey. The connection between herself and the Skywalker family is heavily evident, especially in the second teaser. Like Luke and Anakin before her Rey is a poor denizen of a desert planet with a shrouded past. Then we have situations like the picture above where there is a direct visual connection with Rey and the Skywalkers. The Rey Solowalker speculation aside Rey has too much symbolism to be ignored.
So what do we make of this? Well I personally accept either argument for Finn or Ridley as stemming from a logical analysis of what we have. What I propose will occur in the actual film is a sense of a “red herring” hero, remember what follows from here on out is pure 100% speculation.
I want you to think back now to the distant year of 2000, ignore the horrid flashbacks of Britney, N*Sync, and Backstreet Boys. Instead I want you to remember a certain film released that year, X-Men. In that film the audience and our heroes are lead to believe that Magneto is after Wolverine, it isn’t until wells a way into the film it is discovered the real target was Rogue all along. Now the plot of Kylo Ren hunting a force user is merely speculation, but the idea of an audience and our heroes being mislead is something I would favor happening in Episode VII.
The way this would play out is that either directly or indirectly the audience is guided towards viewing Finn as a so called “heir” to Luke Skywalker, the Jedi hero of the Sequel Trilogy. Finn will have the lightsaber, he will drive the plot, and all signs will point to him being the one who will fight and defeat Kylo Ren. But there will be a moment of revelation, probably in the third act where it is revealed it really was Rey all along.
Perhaps in a battle it is revealed only Rey is a match for Kylo Ren, perhaps we have the family revelation many people favor, but in some way I feel there will be a revelation revealing that Rey was the hero all along and Finn was just misdirection by Abrams and Kasdan. Personally I consider that effective storytelling but it is the sort of minor plot twist most filmmakers choose to shy away from.
Star Wars has always been about someone’s journey towards becoming a hero. I’ve written before about Campbell’s Monomyth a theory as vital to Star Wars as the force itself. It is easy to envision either Finn or Rey as someone taking on this journey. Finn seeks redemption for his past as an agent for evil while Rey is a desert rat with a destiny. While on paper Rey has the more obvious connection to the heroes of Star Wars past, the idea of Finn being the focal point is interesting in guiding Star Wars towards a new direction. We may even be provided a contrast of a hero who jumps at the call vs one who rejects the call.
Anakin was someone who jumped at the call, he paused hesitantly out of fear for his mother but he wanted to go and become a Jedi. Luke, while expressing hatred of the Empire, would never have left Tatooine had his family not been slaughtered. What VII may be providing us is a chance to see both types of heroes on the screen at once, with rumors currently suggesting Finn accepting the call while Rey is hesitant. Tying this together with my idea of a red herring hero could potentially create one of the more memorable plot developments in recent movie history. Whether or not I am completely off base with this speculation I am still excited to see how our deuteragonists develop on the screen.
Be sure to provide your thoughts on the Hero question for Episode VII in the comments below or of course, in The Cantina