In The Force Awakens when Rey and Finn first steal the Millennium Falcon, Finn operates one set of the ships dorsal/ventral guns to shoot the chasing tie fighters. At some point, the weapon gets damaged and can no longer move. Rey has to do some pretty fancy flying to get the guns lined up with the remaining fighter so Finn can shoot it.

As we know from the Death Star escape sequence in A New Hope, the Falcon has two sets of operable cannons. I find it hard to believe Finn did not know this as you can see the other set when operating one (Luke and Han look and shout down at each other down the tunnel during the fight as seen in this video).

So why the fancy flying? Why didn't Finn just switch to the other gun? Was it explained to be inoperable and I just missed it?

  • 6
    He doesn't know the ship had another cannon. Rey had to point him to the first one and she never mentioned she ship had more.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 14:21
  • 3
    She clearly says 'Get Ready' whilst doing the flying which I assumed meant she was intentionally lining the shot up. Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 14:28
  • 2
    I suspect the real reason is out of universe 'because its cool!'. Fully willing to accept that it just isn't explained anywhere. Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 15:17
  • 10
    There's how many years between A New Hope and The Force Awakens? Just because it had two operable cannons doesn't mean it has two operable cannons. Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 15:52
  • 11
    Hehe. Finally, an answer that needs a cannon explanation.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


The simplest answer seems to be that he didn't know that there was a secondary gunnery position because Rey didn't tell him that there was one. She advised him that the guns were down and that's where he went, following orders like a good little soldier.

At the point that he announced that his gun wasn't working properly, she then immediately lines up a shot that he can make, presumably rather than chancing that he'll be able to get to the other gun and start firing (assuming that they even work) before they get blown out of the sky by the TIE-figher.

Before the gun broke

She and BB-8 headed to the cockpit, where she ditched her staff and plopped down in the pilot’s seat. She flipped a switch on the console and the controls illuminated. A little dusty, perhaps, but perfectly readable.
“Gunner’s position is down below,” she called to the young man.
“You ever fly this thing?” he shouted back.
“Nobody’s flown this crate in years.” - Force Awakens: Junior Novel


“Gunner’s position is down below!” Turning, Finn headed for the indicated area. “You ever fly this thing? Or anything like it?” - Force Awakens: Official Novelisation

After the gun broke

“Cannons are stuck in the forward position,” he said. “I can’t move ’em—so you gotta lose ’em!”
The young woman tried to shake their pursuer by diving into the center engine thruster of an Imperial Super Star Destroyer. All of a sudden they were speeding through a tight maze of shattered beams and crumpled walls. “Are we really doing this?” Finn asked in disbelief.
“Get ready!” she commed.
“Ready for what?”
The narrow confines hadn’t scared off the TIE. Its pilot tracked every move they made and pelted the freighter with lasers.
After a quick climb, they broke out of the destroyer into blue skies. Finn lurched in his harness when the young woman decelerated and cranked the freighter around to face their pursuer. The enemy fighter emerged from the destroyer, dead center in Finn’s crosshair. She had lined up his target for him. All he had to do was fire. Which he did. - Force Awakens: Junior Novel

The 'secondary turret' might be broken

Uninterrupted light appeared at the far end of the service corridor down which she was flying. Another blast from the unrelenting TIE fighter pilot nearly sent their craft crashing into the corridor’s ceiling, and she only managed to correct at the last instant. There was no time to check readouts to see if any critical part of the stolen ship had been damaged. All that mattered was that they were still airborne and the controls continued to respond to her touch. - Force Awakens: Official Novelisation

  • I may have mis-read the question, but I thought what was being asked was, why didn't Rey tell him about the dorsal (?) turrent after the ventral was damaged and he told her about it? SHE ought to have known, from her prior exploration of Falcon. Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 15:50
  • 2
    Re: seeing: if I carefully look at the scenes from ANH, the strong impression is that you don't see the opposite turret, unless you turn your whole body specifically to look. Naturally, you're backhead-facing to the other turret Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 15:53
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    @DVK - In the time it would have taken for him to unbuckle, climb up and down the tunnel, re-buckle and reboot the guns (which may or may not work), she's already lined him up for a straight shot at the TIE.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 16:02
  • 1
    that's most certainly a plausible explanation. I don't see anything in canon backing it up but it's the only thing that makes sense. Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 19:31
  • 1
    Rey has likely only seen the ship from ground level, so of course, she'd only know about the lower guns. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 19:32

Rey was making drastic evasive maneuvers. BB-8 needed to brace itself against two walls and the ceiling to stop from being thrown around.

If Finn had unstrapped himself and tried to move to the other turret, it's likely he would have been concussed before he got there, and been of no use to anyone.

  • 1
    That wouldn't have stopped Han Solo ;)
    – Mykewlname
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 13:52

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