This post contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson reveals in an earlier draft of the script, it was Poe Dameron who accompanied Finn on his mission to casino city Canto Bight. Though the primary focus of Episode VIII the the dynamic between Rey, Luke Skywalker, and Kylo Ren, the film doesn't push the conflict between the Resistance and First Order to the back burner. Force Awakens heroes Poe Dameron and Finn are given substantial arcs of their own, learning valuable lessons they'll take with them into the next movie.
Early on in Last Jedi, the First Order is able to track the Resistance's flagship through hyperspace, and Finn has the idea to sneak aboard the Star Destroyer to disable the tracking system. To do that, the group needs the assistance of a codebreaker located on Canto Bight, and newcomer Rose Tico goes with Finn there, while Poe stays behind so he can make the jump to light speed when ready. After Episode VII displayed the electric chemistry between Finn and Poe, some fans might have wondered why the fast friends didn't do a buddy cop act together, and now Johnson has offered an explanation.
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In the book The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Johnson shared that he initially had Poe and Finn teaming up again, before realizing a different direction would be better for the story:
"Poe originally went on the journey with Finn to Canto Bight. And it was boring. It was just these two dudes on an adventure. I knew something was wrong when I looked at their dialogue and realized I could interchange any of the lines. There wasn't conflict between them. So I realized I had to come up with something else. Finn needing somebody else to go with who would actually challenge him and push him and contrast with him was where Rose came from."
While Rose arguably isn't the most complex character in Star Wars lore, she serves an important function in the narrative. She helps Finn see the larger picture and grasp the consequences of his actions in The Force Awakens, where he defected from the First Order. In their first scene, Rose excitedly says, "You're THE Finn!" which underscores what exactly the symbol of Finn means for the "nobodies" in the Resistance like Rose and her late sister, Paige. If a stormtrooper can grow a conscious and know the difference between right and wrong, then all is not lost. Rose is the polar opposite from DJ, the codebreaker the two meet on Canto Bight. Johnson described it as an angel/devil dynamic, with DJ telling Finn, "Live free. Don't join."
One could make the case Poe could have served the Rose role for Finn's arc just fine, but that would have undercut the pilot's own story with General Leia and Vice Admiral Holdo. By splitting the two friends up, Johnson challenged both and allowed them to grow as people, and The Last Jedi is all the better for it. Through their experiences, Finn and Poe have matured, which would not have been the case if they embarked on a buddy cop subplot. Now, the two are stronger, more dynamic characters for Episode IX, and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.
Source - The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018