As promotion for Star Wars: The Last Jedi ramps up, the cast is cropping up in the press with increasing regularity – and every once in a while, an interesting nugget of information appears. The latest comes from Oscar Isaac, who plays Resistance pilot Poe Dameron in the franchise. His character was introduced in opening sequence of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and, when the film arrived in theatres, it quickly became clear that he’d joined the ranks of the most beloved of Star Wars canon.
But, what audiences saw in theatres was the result of changes made to the story by J.J. Abrams – partly due to the insistence of Isaac, and partly due to fate and circumstance. Firstly, Poe Dameron was not supposed to survive the first act. In the film, when we see him help Finn escape the First Order, and then watch his TIE fighter crash into the sand, that was originally intended to be the end of Poe. But, Oscar Isaac had performed similar ‘early plot device death’ services in a number of other films – notably Drive and The Bourne Legacy – and this caused a change in the script.
“I said that I wasn’t sure because I had already done that role in other movies where you kind of set it up for the main people and then you die spectacularly. What’s funny is that [producer] Kathleen Kennedy was in the room and she was like, ‘Yeah, you did that for us in Bourne!'”
But, having then resurrected Poe Dameron from his hitherto certain death, sufficient space had to be made for him in the rest of the story. As it happened, fate played an important part, and the fact that Harrison Ford injured himself on set – being consequently unavailable for some time – meant that Poe could step up and take on some the actions that would otherwise have fallen to Han Solo.
Oscar Isaac is keen to point out, however, that this does not mean that Poe Dameron is a Han Solo surrogate moving forward in the franchise.
“Well, there could be, but I think what [The Last Jedi writer/director] Rian [Johnson] did was make it less about filling a slot and more about what the story needs. The fact is now that the Resistance has been whittled to just a handful of people, they’re running for their lives, and Leia is grooming me — him — to be a leader of the Resistance, as opposed to a dashing, rogue hero.”
Indeed, while there’s no getting away from the fact that Poe Dameron is a dashing hero, we do know that he shares a number of crucial scenes with General Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Last Jedi – all of which will undoubtedly pack a hefty emotional punch for fans when the film arrives on December 15th.