Poe Dameron is one of the sequel trilogy’s strongest characters, perhaps my personal favorite. He begins with the confidence of a hotshot pilot, eyeing up Kylo Ren and charging headfirst at a First Order Dreadnaught. However, as the trilogy progresses, and Dameron feels the pain of loss, he transforms into a respected leader.
That arc is brought to life by Oscar Isaac’s tremendous performance. However, there is a lot more that went into it behind the scenes.
So here are five little-known facts about Oscar Isaac and Star Wars.
1. Isaac wasn’t originally supposed to have much of a role in the trilogy.
Back in a 2018 GQ interview, Isaac recites the experience of how he first landed the role as Poe Dameron. It is a bit of a funny story, as Isaac first heard word Abrams was searching for a role in The Force Awakens and was asked to speak with him in Paris for it.
Albert Brooks, then Isaac’s co-star on the film A Most Violent Year, attempted to lure Isaac away from the project by posing as Abrams on the phone. Isaac didn’t quite fall for the trick and ultimately met up with Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy, but he still has the voice message today.
The idea was originally for Dameron to be a one-hit-wonder. The story echoes what we see on Jakku in the film’s opening, with Poe serving as Leia’s number one pilot and ultimately struck down in heroism by Kylo Ren and the First Order’s arrival after contacting Lor San Tekka and setting the story in motion.
Isaac hesitated to accept the role due to its similarity to others he has done, but he couldn’t quite pass up the opportunity to participate in Star Wars. And when he called Abrams to accept, there was a change of heart that had Dameron as a part of not just the whole film, but a focal point of the trilogy as well.
2. He had strong chemistry with John Boyega
One relationship that some fans wanted to see more of in the sequel trilogy was that between Isaac and John Boyega’s Finn. On numerous occasions, Isaac has remarked about the “absolute natural chemistry” he felt with Boyega stemming back to their very first audition together.
Both actors embraced it, however, the films did not to a similar extent. Dameron and Finn had a strong friendship, but nothing more than that as Isaac would have preferred. Speaking with Variety, Isaac said the following:
"Personally, I kind of hoped and wished that maybe that would’ve been taken further in the other films, but I don’t have control … It seemed like a natural progression, but sadly enough it’s a time when people are too afraid, I think, of… I don’t know what.”"
J.J. Abrams embraced the idea of LGBTQ representation, with The Rise of Skywalker being the first Star Wars film to briefly feature such a relationship on screen. Therefore, it is interesting to consider why Abrams, despite noting the connection between Finn and Dameron and his openness to diversity of interpersonal relationships in Star Wars, did not explore things further and if the franchise may do so in the future.
3. Isaac’s Uncle had a cameo in The Force Awakens
Back on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in March of 2015, Isaac shared a little nugget about his Uncle’s involvement in the sequel trilogy’s first film. Isaac’s entire family happens to be major Star Wars fans, but especially his uncle, who Isaac said had a “mini-museum” in his home.
Therefore, Isaac brought his uncle to the set one day to see the production, and he brought loads of T-shirts for the cast. Abrams loved the gesture and Isaac’s uncle so much that he offered him a role in the film.
And while it is unknown whether this happens to be the right identity or not, a post on the Star Wars News Net claiming to be Isaac’s uncle went ahead and clarified a bit of the story.
"By the way, the story is getting out there wrong , I did not give them the t shirts until later, JJ put me in the cameo wayyyy before I gave it to him, besides it was just the experience, IF I show up in the movie you will provably miss me if u blink…"
While he may have been too short for a stormtrooper, he was added in as an extra instead. Outsiders cannot tell which character he may have played, but is a neat anecdote to say that he was part of the film nonetheless.
4. Isaac pitched one of The Rise of Skywalker’s most powerful scenes
The Rise of Skywalker’s most unfortunate challenge, beyond concluding the entire trilogy and franchise, was telling a story set up by the previous films in the absence of Carrie Fisher, who had passed away prior to the film’s filming date. Instead, Abrams and the filmmaking crew utilized unused scenes of Fisher’s appearance in The Force Awakens to piece together her role in the final film.
One of her most pivotal scenes was not even a part of the script, suggested by Isaac instead. The film’s feature-length documentary, The Skywalker Legacy, discussed how the scene where Dameron opens up about his fears of leadership as Leia faded away to reach her son was entirely Isaac’s idea. Isaac said:
"That scene wasn’t originally in the film, and I talked to J.J. about ‘Well, I think that it would be great to just see a moment that Poe has with Leia, even just a moment for him to say goodbye…’"
Many of Isaac’s funnier lines in The Force Awakens were apparently improvised, but this touching anecdote speaks to his ability to add to his dialogue and contribute crucial story elements as well. This specifically turned to be one of Isaac’s lasting and most powerful impressions on both his and Fisher’s characters and the film as a whole.
5. He seems finished with Star Wars
Reflecting on his time in the saga, Isaac had some very interesting things to say. Speaking to Deadline in an interview regarding his filmThe Card Counter, Isaac said the following:
"I enjoyed the challenge of those films and working with a very large group of incredible artists and actors, prop makers, and set designers, and all that. It was really fun. But it’s not really what I set out to do. What I really set out to do was to make handmade movies and to work with people that inspired me."
Isaac went on to specify that he is most likely done with Star Wars unless he happens to “need another house or something.” It is a trend shared with many other sequel trilogy actors, meaning we should be grateful for the films we did receive and for the great fun Isaac and Dameron provided to the Star Wars universe.
For more Star Wars facts, keep up with the Star Wars Actors category on Dork Side of the Force.