The sight of John Boyega as Finn the stormtrooper has come to define fan speculation upon [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158). Boyega looking like he's late for school in a goofy 90s sitcom practically embodies the excitement surrounding Star Wars Episode 7, and the hype train its unwittingly powering. Considering that Finn was the very first in-universe character we saw of this upcoming Star Wars, it's easy to think that he is by default the main character in the story. On closer inspection, that may be a greater assumption than first thought.
Is Finn really the good guy?
One of the first debates to spring from the promotion for Star Wars Episode 7 contested whether Finn really was a stormtrooper. Adherents to the prequels and or stupid people used his race and appearance to declare that he couldn't possibly be a stormtrooper in the classical sense. Many are now sure that Abrams' Star Wars is prescribing to the commonly held assumption that stormtroopers are just real people who signed up to aid the empire. There's still the chance that Finn is using stormtrooper armor as a disguise, and the second trailer does show him in some more heroic garb, yet his character immediately appears more interesting if we assume he is a stormtrooper through and through.
The trailers have exhibited Finn and Rey working together on Jakku, hinting that they may spend a good portion of the movie as a duo. If Finn really is framed as a conscript of the Empire, it would be a delight to see a begrudging friendship burgeon between the two of them. Characters on complete opposite sides of the galactic wars would have to dismiss their differences, and work together, strengthening the thrust of the movie's plot.
Poe Dameron and multiple perspectives
When Oscar Isaac appears for a half second in the trailer for Star Wars Episode 7, I suddenly thought "oh yeah! This cast is huge!" Given that Abrams is approaching this movie like a first date with fans, I'd guess that the film will style itself much more on the likes of Empire Strikes Back than on the original Star Wars. That's to say we won't see a gradual hero's journey storyline strictly from the perspective of Finn and Rey, but rather intercut character arcs that give a broad view of the galaxy and the causes going on within it. Poe Dameron may be one such case of a protagonist fighting whole star systems away from the more grounded characters of Finn and Rey. What if Star Wars Episode 7 decides to take things further, giving the villains slightly more sympathetic arcs?
Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke
Now I know the notion of suggesting Kylo Ren as some form of protagonist sounds absurd. I mean, just look at him! He has a scary mask, black robes and a red lightsaber! He ticks every box on the "no good" form in the Star Wars universe. Yet, the revelation that Kylo Ren is searching for Sith artifacts at the start of Episode 7 complicates his character somewhat. He seems to have a cause specific to himself, and that could make him quite sympathetic next to Supreme Leader Snoke, played by human tech demo, Andy Serkis.
With rumors of Domnall Gleeson's character being a subordinate to these two, it seems the Sith element in Star Wars Episode 7 will be more complex than we've ever seen. This certainly makes space for a sympathetic character, and maybe even an outright good guy, emerging from the shadows.
What are your thoughts, hopes and fears for characters like Finn the Stormtrooper and Kylo Ren in Star Wars Episode 7? Write a post about it, vote in our poll, or leave a comment below!