Rey and Finn’s Dynamic Was Very Different in ‘Force Awakens’—Until the Actors Changed JJ Abrams’ Mind

     December 6, 2019

While the new trilogy of Star Wars movies is coming to an end with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, new revelations from director and co-writer J.J. Abrams hint towards an alternate reality in which Rey and Finn are not exactly best pals.

During the Rise of Skywalker press day, Collider’s own Perri Nemiroff asked Abrams which character changed the most from Star Wars: The Force Awakens—which he also directed and co-wrote—to Rise of Skywalker. The Force Awakens famously went through a number of iterations before landing upon the film we have now, and Abrams revealed that as-written, the dynamic between Rey and Finn was supposed to be contentious. But as shooting progressed, Abrams discovered he couldn’t deny the inherent chemistry between Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, and he rewrote the relationship between the characters during production as a result:

“It wasn’t so much that any one character changed more than another, but I know that on Force Awakens the energy between Rey and Finn, for example, was a different thing at the beginning. We had written a little bit more of a kind of contentious relationship, and as we were shooting scenes I was just feeling like it wasn’t popping. It wasn’t really working, and then I’d say ‘cut’ and Daisy and John would be like the greatest of friends and have this amazing repartee and I was like ‘What the hell is going on?’ Every time I said ‘cut’ it was so much better than when I was saying ‘action’.”

Indeed it’s kind of easiest to see the shades of this dynamic when Rey and Finn first meet, in that glorious escape sequence where Finn thinks he’s being dashing by saving Rey’s life, while Rey is actually the one saving Finn from being shot up. Soon after the two bond while flying the Millennium Falcon, and that dynamic was rewritten on the fly:

“So we literally went back and rewrote their dynamic. Not so much their characters, but who they were to each other so it was a bit more in line with and in sync with who we actually had, and what was clearly naturally the energy between them.”

It’s fascinating to consider the different character arcs we may have seen had Finn and Rey began as opposites forced to work together rather than fast friends. Speaking of which, Abrams added that the chemistry between Boyega and Oscar Isaac was clear on Day One:

“And by the way John and Oscar from the beginning were weirdly, wonderfully on fire from the get-go.”

Alas, the romantic Finn/Poe relationship many were hoping to see never came to fruition, but we can likely thank the actors’ terrific chemistry on and off screen for the legion of fan fiction that followed.

For more on Star Wars check out what Isaac told us about a potential Poe Dameron Disney+ series.

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