By: Dominic Jones
Warning: This story contains spoilers from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you haven't seen it yet, stop reading now.
It seems that an early version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens would have seen a second major character killed during the action of the film. Oscar Isaac revealed in a recent interview with GQ magazine that when he first accepted the part, Poe Dameron was intended to die when he crashed the TIE fighter on Jakku. According to Isaac (via GQ),
Isaac says he had been summoned to Paris for what he suspected might be a role in The Force Awakens. Sure enough, earlier that day, he had met with Abrams, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and Abrams had pitched him the character of Poe Dameron, a badass fighter pilot battling against the remnants of the Empire.
“He’s amazing!” said Abrams.
“Sounds good!” thought Isaac, whose first experience in a movie theater had been seeing The Empire Strikes Back.
“He opens the whole movie!” said Abrams.
“Sounds great!” thought Isaac.
“And then,” Abrams went on. “He dies.”
“Oh,” thought Isaac.
“I’d done that before,” he told me later. “Set up the plot for the main guy and then die spectacularly.” (He had played just such a role in The Bourne Legacy.)
Abrams could surely feel the enthusiasm drain out of the actor when he revealed Dameron’s fate. “I guess that’s not what you hoped for when you got on a plane to Paris,” he said. Thus the invitation to join him at Café de Flore, where Abrams patiently sipped coffee while Isaac sat hunched over the director’s iPhone, reading one of the most closely guarded scripts in the history of film. Abrams hoped to convince the actor that there were still compelling reasons to join the Star Wars fraternity.
“I wanted to impress upon him how much I wanted this to work,” Abrams remembers. It was a chance, he told Isaac, to create a role that could live on in all corners of the Star Wars universe—novels and comic books and video games and so on. The conversation lasted well into the night.
“We talked about the story and who this character could be,” Abrams says. “I loved the collaboration. People like Oscar are the people you listen to.”
Still, when they parted, Isaac remained hesitant.
“I went back home [to New York], and I thought about it,” he says. “Then I wrote him and said, ‘Okay. I’ll do it!’ I figured it would be a cameo: I’ll come in, do my thing, and maybe it’s actually better not to have to sign myself up for three movies.” By that time, though, things had changed and Abrams soon wrote back: “Never mind. I’ve figured it out. You’re in the whole movie now.”
“I was like, ‘Holy shit! Alright, cool,’ ” Isaac says.
If you asked me, they made the right choice to bring Poe back after the crash. It made for some fun scenes between him and Finn and BB-8 at the Resistance Base.
Do you think they made the right choice bringing Poe back? Let us know in the comments!
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