6

The Episode VII crawl sets up POE DAMERON as a key character:

Leia has sent her most daring pilot on a secret mission to Jakku, where an old ally has discovered a clue to Luke’s whereabouts….

But after helping Stormtrooper FN-2187 desert the First Order, Poe is seemingly killed when their hijacked TIE Fighter crashes on Jakku.

Finn takes up the name Poe gave him, and his jacket, and sets off.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on Jakku, scavenger Rey rescues and adopts Poe's droid BB-8.

Poe's mission and subsequent death sets up the main plot of the film for our unlikely new heros.


Later, Poe is shown to have miraculously survived.


Soon after the release of The Force Awakens, it was reported that Poe was originally written to have truly died died in that TIE Fighter crash:

J.J. 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 Oscar 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.)

...

“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.”

https://www.gq.com/story/star-wars-the-force-awakens-character-death


If Poe Dameron was originally written to be killed in the first act, why was he re-written to survive in the final draft?

What caused Abrams and Lucasfilm to reconsider this death? How far into the production schedule did this rewrite or reshoot occur?

  • 1
    I'm not seeing an answerable question here. it also seems reasonably likely that what jar jar Abrams is referring to when he says that Poe dies is precisely the scene that happens in the theatrical version where he appears to be dead. – Valorum Oct 24 at 6:23
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    @Valorum He was originally written to be dead dead, as referenced by Oscar Isaac being disappointed to accept a one-movie "cameo" role. – pk_ Oct 24 at 6:32
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    I've edited the post to include more of the relevant info. My confusion stemmed from the fact that you'd cut the quotes off before the important bit. – Valorum Oct 24 at 6:39
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    There are at least 3 distinct questions here making this too broad. – TheLethalCarrot Oct 24 at 6:42
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    @pk_ You have a more basic problem than subjective / thematic aspects. Your post asks more than one question. You need to either choose one single question to ask, or break it up into three separate posts. – Misha R Oct 24 at 20:26
5

Harrison Ford was injured on the set of The Force Awakens when his leg was crushed by a Millennium Falcon set door. This caused production to be suspended for two weeks.

STAR WARS: EPISODE VII PRODUCTION UPDATE - JULY 6, 2014

Meanwhile, principal photography continues at Pinewood Studios in London after wrapping on location in Abu Dhabi in May. In August, the team will take a brief two-week hiatus while adjustments to the current production schedule are made as actor Harrison Ford recovers from a leg injury.

https://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-episode-vii-production-update

Contemporaneous reporting suggested that Oscar Isaac's role was expanded as a result of Ford's injury:

Oscar Isaac’s role in ‘Star Wars’ to be expanded after Ford injury

Details of Isaac’s role have been kept strictly secret — but there’s speculation he plays a descendant or even the son of Ford’s Han Solo character, who has “an especially large role.” But after Ford was injured on the sci-fi epic’s set, spies say Isaac’s part is now being extended as a Plan B.

“They are now beefing up Oscar’s role to be bigger with Harrison injured,” said a source familiar with the project that’s currently shooting at London’s Pinewood Studios.

https://pagesix.com/2014/06/25/isaacs-role-in-star-wars-to-be-expanded-after-ford-injury/

At this point the Abu Dhabi (Jakku) shoots had wrapped, where Poe's character would have originally been killed off.

It appears that the two-week production hiatus allowed J.J. Abrams to rework the role and incorporate Poe into the Resistance Base scenes shot in England, perhaps taking on some scenes that were originally written for Han Solo.

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From a writing standpoint, conservation of character. Consider the story; from Poe and Finn's escape over Jakku to the dogfight over Maz's planet, which is almost immediately followed by the planned attack on the First Order, there's really no chance to introduce any new Resistance pilot who you also need for the final trench run scene and blowing up the Death St-- I mean Starkiller Base. You've already introduced Poe and shown he's an elite pilot, and he already has a relationship to one of the main characters; if he wasn't dead, he'd be the ideal person to fill that role without having to introduce someone new.

From there it's a minor leap to "Well, what if he wasn't dead?" A minor tweak to the story to get Finn and him separated just before the crash, not showing the crash itself, not showing a body, and voila. There's a way for Poe's survival to be slid in without needing to significantly alter the main part of the plot.

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