This ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Character Was Originally Going to Die
Consider this an ample warning to turn back now if you haven’t had time to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet because we’re about to get into serious spoiler territory. Avert your eyes, ye who wish to remain untainted when it comes to the finer plot points of The Force Awakens. Go forth, lest ye be spoiled on the identity of a character who makes it to Episode 8.
Okay, still with us? Good! There’s lots of Star Wars news today as millions of people have now had the chance to see The Force Awakens, which means we’re learning a lot about special appearances, hidden cameos and who died or didn’t die or whatever. This news falls into the latter category.
In an interview with GQ, Oscar Isaac reveals that X-Wing pilot and Resistance fighter Poe Dameron was originally going to die in an earlier draft of J.J. Abrams’ script. Isaac says he was initially hesitant to take the part since his character wouldn’t make it past the first act:
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.
Following their escape from the First Order’s base, John Boyega’s Finn and Isaac’s Poe crash land on Jakku, where Poe vanishes and is presumed dead. It would appear that the original intention was to kill him off, but Abrams must have found some important reason to keep him alive — or he just sees what the rest of us do in Oscar Isaac. That dude has some serious charisma.
At any rate, Isaac says he thought it over and decided to take the glorified cameo, but then Abrams changed his mind and it all worked out:
“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 s---! Alright, cool,’ ” Isaac says.
Does this mean Isaac will appear in Episode 8 and Episode 9? We already know he’s returning to work with Rian Johnson on the sequel — in addition to the obvious reasons, he was recently spotted with Boyega while filming in Mexico.
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