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In the beginning of the film, when Kylo Ren is returning to the Finalizer he stares at FN-2187 (Finn). Sure, he has the bloody markings on his mask, but no indication of who he is. Later, when Finn and Poe escape with a tie fighter, KR seems to know exactly who took it.

Now, I'm not suggesting that Kylo Ren shouldn't have recognized Finn as a potential risk, but how would Ren have known that FN-2187 was that stormtrooper? It doesn't really seem reasonable that Ren would be expected to memorize the designation of all stormtroopers accompanying him. I suppose his helmet could have some sort of HUD to point out "FN-2187" but is there any basis to this?

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    Evil Magic Space Wizards. – Broklynite Jan 26 '16 at 23:07
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    Hux was also surprised "While the all-concealing mask made it difficult to tell the focus of Ren’s attention, it was plainly not on the general. “FN-2187.” It unnerved Hux that Kylo Ren had managed to ascertain the identity of the rogue trooper before the ship’s own command staff. But then, Ren had access to a great many aspects of knowledge from which ordinary mortals like himself were excluded, Hux knew. He would have inquired further, but the taller figure had already turned and headed off"" - Novelisation – Valorum Jan 26 '16 at 23:11
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    No help from the junior novel. That scene doesn't exist. In that version, Ren walks in to find Hux and Phasma perusing Finn's records. – Valorum Jan 26 '16 at 23:16
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    Well, obviously every trooper has their designation marked on their uniform. It can only be seen by other troopers due to filters in their lenses (they need this to recognise the other members of their group/unit/whatever, because it's written in special invisible paint. Clearly, Kylo has the same lenses in his helmet ... and just as clearly this whole explanation is made up... – BMWurm Jan 27 '16 at 13:23
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    Has everyone forgotten Kylo Ren is trained in the Force? – thegreatjedi Jan 27 '16 at 14:42
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So, I've just seen the move once, but here is my recollection ...

Kylo clearly has the ability to read minds from the scenes we saw in the film. He also seemingly realized the internal conflict going on within Finn when he saw that Finn just stood in one spot during the battle and did not follow orders to kill everyone. Now, what we don't know with that particular force power in this new universe is what can be discerned from others' minds at close vs far range. So, if Kylo could sense the conflict within Finn from where he was standing, then it is reasonable to assume he could read Finn's surface thoughts too.

Another possibility is that it is reasonable to assume the troopers and commanders have battlefield awareness of each other through HUDs, because why wouldn't you with the kind of technology they have? However, we didn't see this in the film; though, there was a lot we didn't see in the film.

Finally, Kylo's taking note of Finn didn't even require his force abilities. The troopers, at least Finn, seemed to be brainwashed and should not have this kind of conflict at following orders. Furthermore, there is the incident back on board the ship with Phasma, where any competent commander would sense that Finn had a problem, which she did. It is not a stretch that Capt. Phasma and Kylo would likely have discussed the incident(s) concerning Finn, which is where Kylo could have learned his designation for sure. As a commander of troops, it should be Phasma's responsibility to bring these potential issues up, especially to the powerful mind reading Kylo. Both Capt. Phasma and Kylo would have suspected they had a troubled storm trooper in their midst, and so it is no small leap to assume that when a storm trooper goes rogue and steals a TIE, it was likely FN-2187.

  • From the dialogue that happened when FN was identified as the traitor it seems to me that phasma and kylo didnt have a talk there before. – Thomas Feb 2 '16 at 16:43
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During that scene my assumption was that Kylo Ren sensed the light side of the force within Finn.

When he'd heard that a Stormtrooper had betrayed the First Order he correctly jumped to the conclusion which one it must be.

Now I'm not saying that Finn is jedi matierial but he is likely somewhat linked to the light side of the force in the same way Leia is.

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Kylo Ren felt the Force awaken in FN-2187/Finn when he disobey orders to massacre the villagers. Maybe it was a small amount of force but it was awakened when Finn saw FN-2003 die by the shot from Pilot Poe gun and the killing of the town people. Finn does fight with the lightsaber a couple of times which only Jedi can do, he also is on all the posters and trailers with a lightsaber. The title of Star Wars VII is about Finn.

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    I seriously doubt it. In particular, there was nothing so special about Finn wielding a lightsaber; whether he actually put up a fight is debatable. – Gallifreyan Jan 10 '17 at 10:51

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