The Star Wars Sequel Trilogy will go down in infamy for the way it has divided the fandom — not to mention the narrative and thematic contradictions between Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which never seemed to be resolved. Nothing embodies those contradictions better than the arc of John Boyega's Finn, whose initial potential as a major Force-using hero ultimately ended in disappointment. However, some Star Wars fans have gone back to Rian Johnson's finale in The Last Jedi and are making the case that the film subtly reveals Finn using his Force powers for the first time.
We already know from behind-the-scenes details of The Rise of Skywalker that one earlier version of the film featured a whole lot more of Finn's arc. That subplot would've examined why Finn was able to break with his stormtrooper programming and defect from the First Order, and how he comes to terms with being Force-sensitive, and even uses the power in the final battle with Palpatine's Final Order armada. In fact, director J.J. Abrams himself confirmed that the subplot in The Rise of Skywalker where Finn had something to tell Rey was all about the reveal of Finn's Force powers.
Now, here's the moment in The Last Jedi that Star Wars fans are pointing to as the first foreshadow of Finn's Force powers:
do y'all think finn moved the rocks aside with the force when he ran towards rey?? pic.twitter.com/57eNFd21p3— ceo of force sensitive poe dameron (@homkycat) January 20, 2020
The shot is presented as Rey moving the rocks (a callback/joke to when she and Luke Skywalker debate whether or not the nature of the Force is all about moving rocks). However, looking at the sequence again, it's fair to argue that Rey lifted the rocks, but it was Finn who moved those floating rocks out of his path in order to get to Rey. After all, Rey accessing the power to lift the rocks and moving them in perfect timing with Finn's run seems a bit too advanced for a fledgling Jedi.
At this point, any connective tissue between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker that can be established is a good thing, as the two films seem to be distinctly at odds with one another in many ways. Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is also pretty active on social media, so it wouldn't be surprising if we get a firm confirmation or debunking of this theory sooner before later.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters and Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now streaming on Disney+.