This Star Wars: The Force Awakens Character Was Originally Supposed to Die
Spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens follow!
If you've seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, then you know that all of the new characters survive the film (but not all of the old ones, boo-hoo). But apparently, one of the new characters was supposed to die by the end of the movie: fearless pilot Poe Dameron.
In a new interview with GQ, Oscar Isaac recalled J.J. Abrams pitching the character, and then revealing his untimely fate:
"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.
Isaac had a muted reaction to the idea of faking out the audience by setting up the movie and then dying spectacularly, as he just did exactly that in Bourne Legacy. And this reaction may have impacted how the whole movie turned out:
"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."
And then, just as Isaac had made his peace with his fate, Abrams saved his character at the last minute:
"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 actually thought during the movie that Poe might die, but I'm glad he didn't. Not only is Isaac a wonderful actor, but his character wasn't nearly as fleshed out as Rey or Finn, and so his death wouldn't have packed nearly as much of a punch. Plus, he's basically serving as a Han Solo replacement, which we need now more than ever.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now out in theaters.