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The Secret History of Poe Dameron in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out last year, audiences instantly fell in love with the new characters that were introduced to the Star Wars Saga. One of them was Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, the hotshot Resistance pilot who went on a mission to find Luke Skywalker and destroyed the First Order superweapon known as Starkiller Base. His charm was infectious. Everyone wanted to learn more.

A movie, of course, only has about two hours to tell a story. That left the expansive universe of books and comics to fill in more about Poe’s backstory and character. There are a number of stories that talk more about Poe, like the comic Shattered Empire, the novel Before the Awakening, and the new comic series Poe Dameron.

Using these books and the knowledge of Wookieepedia, the largest Star Wars fan site in the world, I took a deeper dive into some of Poe’s story that you may not have heard before. For example, did you know that…

Poe Dameron’s Parents Fought in the Rebellion

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When Poe was just a boy, the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire were already fighting the Galactic Civil War. His parents saw that the Empire was oppressing the galaxy and joined the Alliance to build a better future for their son. His mom, Shara Bey, became an A-wing pilot who flew with Green Squadron during the Battle of Endor. His dad, Kes Dameron, was a special forces soldier who fought under the command of Han Solo on Endor. After the Battle of Endor, they continued fighting for a few more months before they both ended their service. Shara was the most prominent of the two in the Alliance, serving alongside such noted figures as Han Solo, Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, and, in her final mission, Luke Skywalker himself.

Poe Dameron Grew Up on Yavin 4

Poe grew up near the old Rebel base on Yavin 4. As a child, his mother taught him how to fly and inspired his sense of adventure.

Star Wars fans will remember Yavin 4 as the home base of the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars: A New Hope. It’s the moon that Princess Leia brought the Death Star plans to after escaping from the space station, and it was nearly destroyed by the Death Star before Luke blew the station up during the Battle of Yavin. After Shara and Kes finished their time in the Alliance, they retired with Poe to a new settlement on Yavin 4.

Poe grew up on Yavin 4 and learned how to fly from his mother, who kept her A-wing and used it as part of the moon’s civil defense force. She would often take him flying across the jungles and even into space, letting him take the controls to get a feel for flying. It was in flying with his mother that Poe knew he wanted to become a pilot. Sadly, Shara never got to see her son earn his wings. She died when he was a boy.

Fun fact: the reason that Yavin 4 was chosen as the world where Poe grew up is because its A New Hope filming location, Guatemala, is where Oscar Isaac was born.

Poe Dameron Defected From the New Republic

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When Poe followed in his mother’s footsteps to become a pilot, he did so by joining the New Republic that his parents and the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build. When he entered the service, he looked up his mother’s war records. She never spoke about her time in the war. She only said she served in the company of heroes and wanted to make the galaxy a better place. When he saw the records, he found out just much of a hero she was. She earned commendation after commendation for her valor in combat. Her fellow pilots all hailed her as a hero who had saved their lives on countless occasions.

Over time, Poe’s opinion on the Republic began to sour. He believed in what it stood for, but he thought that its leaders were ignoring the growing threat of the First Order. Republic intelligence suggested it was small and barely a threat, as they were only conducting minor raids against Republic forces. Poe saw this for what it was, a violation of the peace treaty signed by the Republic and the Empire at the end of the Galactic Civil War. The Republic, however, refused to act. That’s when Poe met General Leia Organa, now the leader of the Resistance. Realizing that he had an opportunity to protect the galaxy from the First Order, Poe and his entire squadron defected from the Republic and joined the Resistance.

Poe Dameron Led the Search for Lor San Tekka

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Early in his service to the Resistance, Poe led his squadron on a mission that resulted in the theft of a starship called the Hevurion Grace, which belonged to Senator Erudo Ro-Kiintor – a First Order collaborator. Through the ship’s records, the Resistance learned that the First Order was trying to find Lor San Tekka, the old explorer whom Poe finally met with him the opening scenes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It was the First Order’s hope that San Tekka could lead them to Luke Skywalker so they could destroy the last living Jedi. Leia, hoping Luke would return from his exile to help the Resistance in their fight against the dark side, ordered Poe to find San Tekka before the First Order could.

The story of how Poe found Lor San Tekka is currently being told in the new comic series Star Wars: Poe Dameron, set just before the events of The Force Awakens. In the few issues that have been released so far, Poe leads a squadron of X-wing pilots – as well as L’ulo, an A-wing pilot who served with Shara in the Rebel Alliance – to find the last known whereabouts of the legendary galactic explorer. They are pursued by agents of the First Order who want to stop the Resistance from finding San Tekka. This storyline will continue for the foreseeable future, leading right into the opening scene of The Force Awakens.

Poe Dameron Escaped From Jakku

Poe made his way off of Jakku by convincing a native to help him find a ship.

If you’ve seen The Force Awakens, then you know that Poe was captured by Kylo Ren and tortured for the information about what he did with the map to Luke Skywalker that Lor San Tekka gave him. With the help of FN-2187, a deserting stormtrooper that Poe nicknamed Finn, Poe escaped from Ren’s Star Destroyer and the two crash-landed on Jakku. Finn woke up in the desert near the site of their crashed TIE fighter, but Poe was nowhere to be found. The next time we see Poe, he’s leading a Resistance attack on the First Order at Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana.

That, of course, left fans wondering: how exactly did Poe get off of Jakku?

The answer to that can be found in the film’s novelization. Unlike Finn, who was ejected from the fighter, Poe was in the ship up until the crash. He got out and Finn was nowhere to be found, so Poe went off on his own to try to find a ship to return to the Resistance. On his way through the desert, he encountered Blarina Naka Iit, who Poe was able to impress with his piloting skills. Blarina agreed to take Dameron to a ship in a village called Blowback Town, and from there he was able to make it back to the Resistance.

Good information to have? Yes. Vital to the film? Definitely not, so it’s clear why such a scene wasn’t in the film. Plus, the result is that we got a really awesome scene where Poe made his triumphant return on Takodana, so that was well worth not knowing what exactly happened to him.

Fun fact: Poe was actually slated to die in the film’s opening act, but Isaac was reluctant to take the part knowing the character would die so soon. After hearing Isaac’s concerns, director/co-writer J.J. Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan revised the script so Poe survived and could return in Star Wars: Episode VIII and, potentially, beyond.

What was your favorite Poe Dameron moment, either from the books or from The Force Awakens? I want to hear from you, so tweet at me and let me know!


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