In The Force Awakens, when Finn and Poe Dameron escape the Star Destroyer Finalizer, Poe flies back to Jakku over Finn's protests, insisting he has to pick up BB-8 — and what BB-8's carrying — as per his mission.

But when they crash land and Finn goes to look for him, Poe is already gone. Later, we learn he returned to the Resistance base without BB-8, as BB-8 was with Finn and Rey.

Why did he make the gamble to return to Jakku only to leave after he crashed? For all he knows, BB-8 was still somewhere on Jakku.

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    In Star Wars, why does- The Force! Next question!
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 17:52

4 Answers 4


He left because he had no way to reconnect with BB-8 and knew the droid could take care of itself for a while till he got help. From Alan Dean Foster's novelization:

He was alive on the surface of Jakku. Alive and alone. There was no way of telling if Finn had been as fortunate. More important, where was BB-8?
The droid could take care of himself, he felt. Poe knew if he could just get offworld and reconnect with the Resistance, a way could be found to recover the droid. All he needed was a ship. He’d already stolen one. Could he steal another?

He had no idea what happened to BB-8 till he saw the droid with Finn later:

“I wasn’t dead, just momentarily out of it,” the pilot explained. “Came around long enough to see that you had got out. Pulled out of the dive just long enough to set down—hard. Impact threw me clear. Woke up at night; no you, no ship, no nothing. Went looking—in the wrong direction. Got picked up by some itinerant trader.” He grinned. “Tell you all about it sometime.” A plaintive beep caused him to turn and look down. “Beebee-Ate says that you saved him.”
Finn eyed the droid. “It wasn’t just me.” A slow smile spread across his face and his eyes twinkled. “Tell you all about it sometime.”
Either way, you completed my mission.” Poe gestured at their surroundings. “Beebee-Ate is here, where he was supposed to come all along. And you saved my jacket.”

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    Damn, he actually writes out "beebee-ate" when characters say the name? That is worse than all the "artoo" nonsense.
    – Jason K
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 18:03
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    @JasonK - that's a very very standard notation in both Disney canon books (including novelizations) and Legends books Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 18:14
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    Maybe, but it looks ridiculous. Artoo isn't much longer than "R2" and C3PO is usually cut to "threepio". Maybe it is just the "ate" instead of "eight" that is bothering me. I can see doing it once or twice just to establish how the acronyms are pronounced or if it is necessary to elongate the word ("Artoooooo, where are you?"), but it seems silly to use it in normal conversation when the acronym is used other context.
    – Jason K
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 18:21
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    So he just basically left when BB-8 didn't come to him? Since this is supported by the novelization, it's the canonical answer, but Poe's reasoning here seems kind of weak. The scenario posed by Royal Canadian Bandit seems much more plausible... The whole reason he attempted to return to Jakku instead of heading toward the Resistance in the first place was to find BB-8 (not that they would have gotten very far, as I assume TIE Fighters still don't have hyperdrives).
    – user339676
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 0:16
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    @user339676 - that's not quite how I interpret it. He didn't have any good way of getting BB-8 himself, so he went back to the Resistance to get help. Remember, when he wanted to go "back", he had Finn AND a working Tie/SF - and ENTIRELY different situation. Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 0:19

NOTE: This answer is contradicted by the novelization. See DVK's answer for details.

BB-8 left Jakku in a very public fashion, as

Rey, Finn, and BB-8 ran from the attacking First Order, stole liberated the Millennium Falcon and flew away.

If Poe was trying to track down BB-8, it's plausible that he

got as far as what was left of the scavenger settlement

and learned from witnesses that BB-8 had left the planet. In particular,

Unkar Plutt, the junkyard owner who had previously held the Millennium Falcon

might have been eager to tell everyone how he had been robbed, because he was angry and hoping to get "his" property back.

In addition, BB-8

made a strong impression in the scavenger settlement, with Unkar Plutt offering a high price to buy him, and others trying to steal him

so many would have noticed and remembered him.

  • 1
    Thumbs up for the <cross>stole</cross> liberated :D Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 10:44
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    Primarily opinion based, but quite logical following movie information.
    – Bardo
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 11:54
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    This answer assumes that Poe got to settlement after Finn has already left the planet. For all we know, Poe left crash site before Finn. Unless he got lost on the way, he should have reached scavenger village before Finn. Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 12:38
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    Didn't Poe say when he woke up, Finn was already gone? If that's the case Finn would have been there first. What I want to know is how much of that outpost survived if the First Order were carpet bombing the place. Then who would still be around to explain to Poe where BB-8 was?
    – Nate
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 13:47
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    I like this answer better, since it seems more plausible, but @DVK's answer is technically correct, since it's supported by the novelization. Still wish they had explored this more, though. The canonical version nullifies the whole reason they went back to Jakku in the first place.
    – user339676
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 0:29

This is definitely an out-of-universe answer, but in an interview with Oscar Isaac (who plays Poe Dameron) in GQ magazine titled, Star Wars Actor Reveals Which Character Was Supposed to Die in The Force Awakens the actor sheds some light on some of the awkwardness of this moment—and it’s “magical” resolution—in the final film; bold emphasis is mine:

…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.)

Then he goes on; again bold emphasis is mine:

“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.”

So at the end of the day, it seems that Finn would have helped Poe escape, Poe would then pilot the TIE fighter with him and Finn to Jakku, and then the whole question of “What happened to Poe?” would simply be… He died and Finn is the one whose story goes on.


Doesn't seem unreasonable to infer he found out two humans had left Jakku in a stolen ship with a one of a kind droid in tow.

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