Less than a month after the release of The Force Awakens, the internet is abuzz with fan theories about things like Rey’s parents, Poe’s sexual orientation, and why C-3PO’s arm changed color. Of course, among the less contested theories right now regards the parentage of FN-2187, better known as John Boyega’s Finn. Finn, the breakout hero of the sequel trilogy, the funny guy, the Stormtrooper-turned-reluctant hero. Everyone thinks they’ve got him figured out, when they couldn’t be more wrong.
All we know about Finn’s past comes from a single line in the film that he was abducted as a child as part of some cheap Stormtrooper-recruitment program. The absence of a last name, with comments from the producers that that’s important, suggests that his parents were someone important. This–coupled with a Star Wars puzzle set that supposedly spilled the beans–has naturally led everyone to speculate that Finn is the son of none other than Lando Calrissian. But ultimately, why? It’s because Lando and Finn are both black. Really, that’s the only reason. People naturally–but wrongfully–assume that the one famous black guy in the galaxy just has to be related to the only other famous black guy in the galaxy.
The unfair color-liking aside, Finn being a Calrissian makes little sense. For one, we’ve seen nothing of Lando in The Force Awakens. There’s nothing to connect the characters other than their blackness, and let’s face it, nobody wants to admit to being that superficial. Besides, here’s the thing about Lando. He’s rich. And a scoundrel. And a general in the Rebel Alliance who’s friends with the only Jedi left in the galaxy. There’s no way in hell that some jackass Imperials could steal Lando’s son and get away with it for more than 10 minutes, let alone twenty years. They’d have the entire Rebel fleet on their tails in minutes. I know we’re talking fiction here, but Finn being Lando’s son who was kidnapped from him is just not believable.
The second popular option is that Finn is the son, or maybe grandson, of…Mace Windu, because again, of course, black guy. Never mind that Mace is from a celibate order of combat monks. Never mind that none of the films or the Clone Wars cartoon ever hinted that Mace was macking a woman on the side. Never mind that Disney is pretty much leaving the prequels in the past.
Look, if we’re going to play the race angle where Finn can only be the son of a famous Star Wars black guy, there’s only one person who that can be, and no, it’s not James Earl Jones.
That’s right. Willrow Hood.
Oh, you weren’t paying attention? That’s Willrow Hood, the famous character from The Empire Strikes Back who runs across the screen during the evacuation of Cloud City. He’s more affectionately known as “Ice Cream Maker Guy” due to that piece of equipment under his arm. Is he a minor Star Wars character? Sure, but he’s not that minor.
In the (admittedly now-deleted) Expanded Universe, Hood had a substantial backstory as a guy who was trying to hide critical data from the Empire in that ice-cream maker of his. He submitted to Imperial torture and never once cracked under the pressure. He’s got enough of a fanbase that the annual Star Wars Celebration event includes a “Running of the Hoods” event where fans dress in his costume and recreate his famous TESB dash. Fan demand for a Willrow Hood action figure was so strong that a petition finally forced Hasbro to give him an action figure in 2009. So no, Hood is no joke of a character–he’s a part of Star Wars‘ enduring legacy among its deep fanbase. Revealing Finn to be part of an important and canonical character would resonate well with the longtime fans.
Besides, what a massive fakeout would it be if the movie hinted that young Finn had been kidnapped from Cloud City? The statement would still be true, but the bulk of the audience would assume that Lando was his father. They’d never see it coming that it’s referring to Cloud City’s less assuming hero, the guy who hid a computer memory core from the Empire. And who knows–as a Cloud City resident, maybe Finn’s dad had something to do with rescuing Luke’s lightsaber after he lost it in his duel with Vader. That lightsaber had to get to Maz’s castle somehow. Maybe Willrow had to make a tough choice between saving his son and saving that saber for future generations. Maybe he had no idea that both would be reunited someday and be critical to saving the galaxy thirty years later.
Who knows the answer? We’ve got a year and a half until Episode VIII. But revealing Finn’s dad to be a background character from Episode V would be the greatest fakeout ever, and fandom would love it. Lando and Mace have nothing on the Ice Cream Maker Guy. Let’s see if we’re right in 2017.