In December 2015, the world was introduced to a new generation of heroes when Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first live-action installment of the series since 2005, hit theater screens all around the globe. It introduced us to Finn and Rey, two protagonists with a strong bond, a slew of new villains (Kylo Ren, General Hux, Phasma, and Snoke), and new organizations that rose from the ghosts of their pasts: the First Order and the Resistance.
One of the members of the Resistance, and this trilogy’s golden trio, was Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, originally slated to be killed off. Isaac almost passed up on the role because he didn’t want to star in another movie where his character was killed; JJ Abrams made a few adjustments to the script, and the galaxy’s best pilot was given a chance to make his mark.
Of all the characters, I honestly expected to like Poe least. I had him nailed down as this generation’s Han Solo; a cocky flyboy with a lot of snark. Press for the movie didn’t boost my confidence, only furthering my conviction. At the time, I was more interested in Rey, because I was convinced she was going to be a Jedi, and that was a big deal, so the new Han Solo wasn’t high up on my list of priorities.
Not the first time I was wrong, and I doubt it’ll be the last.
When I finally sat down to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the character I fell completely in love with, to my own surprise, was Poe Dameron. He wasn’t your Hollywood typical snarker – most characters with a sarcastic sense of humor are often written as borderline assholes with little redeeming qualities. JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan went a different direction; Poe was written with a certain amount of snark, yes, but most importantly he was written as a generous, optimistic, confident man. In a world of brooding heroes, someone like Poe felt like a breath of fresh air.
It’s been three years since The Force Awakens, and we’ve seen been given new mediums to explore Poe’s character. He was given his own comic book titled, written by Charles Soule, which ended on its 31st issue last month, and he just recently appeared on Star Wars: Resistance. And even if you love it or hate it, you can’t deny his pivotal role in the Last Jedi.
With so many appearances, iconic lines, and memorable moments, a look back on some of Poe Dameron’s greatest hits was almost inevitable (and, frankly, a surprise to none of my friends who have suffered through my incessant ramblings and metas on Poe since 2015). Despite being my favorite character of all time, I found it surprisingly easy to nail down my top 5 favorite scenes. So, without further ado, let’s go!
#5 A Moment of Silence (The Last Jedi)
The second installment in the sequel trilogy was no walk in the park for Poe – a mean feat, considering his last appearance involved his own torture, brush with death, and losing a lot of pilots. Things got really real for him after making an in-the-moment decision to take on a Dreadnaught against Leia’s orders, resulting in the deaths of a lot of Resistance pilots and bombers – including Rose Tico’s sister, Paige.
First and foremost, unlike majority of the fanbase, I don’t think Poe was in the wrong during majority of the Last Jedi. Some impulsive decisions were certainly made, but in all honesty, his suspicion of Holdo was extremely valid, and in character, considering he previously dealt with a mole in his own squadron! Can you blame the guy – or Connix, or any of the other Resistance soldiers who went along with the mutiny – for thinking Holdo was super shady?
Although most of Poe’s scenes were filled with high stakes action, or character driven antagonism and drama, there was a quiet moment at the start of the film that’s probably one of my favorites of the entire film. After the First Order brutally attacks the Resistance mid evacuation, their main transport is attacked – and all the Resistance leaders were left for dead, save Leia who miraculously survived thanks to some weird Force shenanigans, but left in a coma.
As Rose and Finn explain how the First Order is tracking them through hyperspace, Poe walks away from them and to Leia’s cot, where she is still unconscious. Poe takes her hand, trying to find the resolve and courage to do what he ultimately knows is right: send Rose and Finn to Canto Bight, behind Holdo’s back.
It’s a daring and risky move, and one that unfortunately doesn’t even pay off in the end. But it gives us a glimpse at Poe’s determination to protect the Resistance, and gives us further insight into his and Leia’s relationship. Not to mention, Oscar Isaac does an incredible job, silently showcasing everything Poe is feeling whilst his back is turned to the world.
#4 Escaping with Finn (The Force Awakens)
I’ll be real honest with you, this is not only one of my favorite Poe scenes, it’s also one of my favorite moments in The Force Awakens.
After breaking him out of captivity, Poe quickly intuits that Finn needs a pilot to escape from the First Order, and the two team up in a hilarious, chaotic, action-packed sequence, involving the theft of a TIE fighter, a cameo from Thomas Brodie Sangster, and a lot of bickering. Typical Star Wars, you know.
This scene is just pure, exhilarating fun – I grin ear to ear everytime I watch it. John Boyega and Oscar Isaac have amazing chemistry together, and I hope we get to see more of them together in Episode Nine, because this trilogy has been sorely lacking in good ole fashioned trio shenanigans and bickering.
It’s also the moment I fell in love with Finn, so I’m especially fond of it for that, too.
#3 Damerey Meet Cute (The Last Jedi)
The moment I’d been clamouring for since 2015 – Poe and Rey finally sharing a moment on screen. I have a soft spot for Poe and Rey, as friendship (or as more), because their storylines parallel each other a great deal, they’re both quite similar personality wise, and because the few glimpses we’ve gotten of their dynamic, they’ve got some major Han/Leia energies.
So needless to say, the second most infamous “I know” scene falls squarely into my list of favorite moments. It’s a sweet, joyful moment, one that makes my heart sing, because despite everything both characters went through during the movie, they’re both able to smile brightly as they share quiet, friendly moment. On top of that epic Finn/Rey reunion, consider me a puddle of feels.
Oh, and there’s the sheer fact that a snarky pilot with a heart of gold tells a no-nonsense Force Sensitive “I know” in the middle of the fricking Falcon. Be still my heart?
#2 Who talks first? (The Force Awakens)
This moment right here is why I’m in this mess in the first place. Not only is it Poe’s most iconic moment/line in his first appearance, it’s also the moment I knew I was a goner for this character.
After witnessing Kylo Ren brutally murder Lor San Tekka (a man Poe spent the better half of a year searching for), Poe does what any rational person would do: he runs in with a blaster, and attempts to kill Kylo Ren. Unfortunately, thanks to a neat little Force trick, Kylo freezes the blast and paralyzes Poe, until two Stormtroopers drag him over and throw him to his knees in front of Kylo. After Kylo creepily studies him in silence for a moment, Poe asks, “who talks first? I talk first, you talk first?”
Despite only being about ten minutes into the movie, I knew I had found my favorite character – and knowing there was still one snarky pilot around to fill the Han Solo shaped hole in my heart was definitely comforting as the movie went on.
#1 Beating Terex (Star Wars: Poe Dameron #13)
This moment wins out above the rest because it was one of those rare scenes that I had to walk off. It happens at the end of Issue #13, which served as the climax to Poe and his nemesis, Terex’s conflict.
Terex was once a First Order officer with the mission to stop Poe, but eventually he wound up betraying the First Order, and putting together his own crew, consisting of people from his criminal past, to destroy Poe and the Black Squadron. Terex was the cause of a lot of problems for the squadron, including but not limited to a mole within their ranks!
Issue #13 saw Poe at his wits end; he couldn’t trust his own team, he was trapped with a droid that cared more about its own casing than anything else, and he thought BB-8 had been destroyed. It was our first look at a desperate, defeated Poe, and that was shocking enough that I spent days mulling it over.
But the moment that truly blew my mind came when everything was said and done: Terex’s forces had been eliminated by the Black Squadron (at the cost of one of their own, L’ulo, a family friend of Poe’s), BB-8 was alright, and the First Order had arrived to arrest Terex. Before Terex is carted away, though, Poe asks for a request from the First Order.
At this point, I’m fully expecting Poe to ask them to let Terex go, let the Resistance take him into custody. The audience (and Poe) know that once Terex is in the hands of the First Order, he’s a dead man. Instead, Charles Soule decides to take that trope and shuts it down. Poe requests a moment with Terex – and uses it to boast about how Terex has lost everything, and adds that whatever he has left, the First Order will take that.
It’s a moment of pure vindication, one shocking enough that I had to stand up and walk away from the comic, before coming back to Poe willingly handing Terex off to the First Order, promising that while Terex’s fight is over, Poe’s was only getting started.
The moment left me in shock because it was the last thing I expected Poe to do; but it was a pivotal moment for fleshing out Poe’s character, and because of that, it will always remain my number one Poe moment.
What’s your favorite Poe moment? Hit the comments and let us know!
Featured image: Disney