*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
We all have pasts, it’s part of being human. Part of that past are mistakes that even years later, we regret making. In The Force Awakens (aka Episode 7 of in the Star Wars series), Finn (John Boyega) is introduced as a storm trooper whose inner Jiminy Cricket has kicked in. After refusing to kill innocent villagers on the planet Jakku and helping Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) escape from the First Order, Finn joins the resistance, in spite of his past.
In The Last Jedi (aka Episode 8), Finn wakes up from the coma to discover that the resistance is slowly being destroyed by the First Order. He again tries to run away, but is caught by Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran). They eventually form plan is to sneak onto a First Order ship and destroy the signal that is tracking the resistance ships through light speed. What starts out a simple plan quickly goes awry, but in the end, there is a faint glimmer of hope that Finn’s actions has helped the rebels to fight another day.
To sum it up: The fight or flight response is built into us as human beings. The question is, as a character, does one run from their past or they face up to it? In Star Wars, Finn eventually faces his past, making him a better man than he was if he had chosen to run away. As writers and human beings, we know that actions, both good and bad have consequences.
When it comes to creating a character who must choose the fight or flight response, the writer must follow the path that is true to the character. For if the character’s action feel untrue to the reader or viewer, it is unlikely that he or she will want to continue to follow both the story and the character.