Annlyel continues her series focussing on the defining moments of the heroes and villains of the Star Wars universe.
I love Poe Dameron. I’ve loved him since he appeared in The Force Awakens. He was funny, the greatest pilot that I had ever seen, and he embodied the heroism of the Resistance. Once, a character that was going to die early in The Force Awakens, he has now become one of the most important characters in the franchise. Here’s a look at his defining moments so far.
1. Attacking Kylo Ren
Poe was the first new major character we were introduced to in The Force Awakens and I was immediately drawn in into him by his instant charisma. He was obviously a hero and I wanted to see him get away when the scary First Order appeared.
Poe Dameron’s character was immediately revealed after Kylo Ren murdered Lor San Tekka. He could’ve remained behind the dune he was hiding behind and just watch the terrible proceedings but he is a Resistance hero for a reason. He fearlessly stepped out from his hiding place in an attempt to kill Kylo Ren and even when he was captured he didn’t act afraid. He instead mocked Kylo Ren’s mask. Ha! That’s a hero I can get behind. I didn’t even need to know Poe’s back story to know I was already a Poe fan simply from his incredible introduction.
2. Naming FN-2187
Poe was not expecting to get rescued, not in the slightest, and he definitely wasn’t expecting to be rescued by one of the First Order’s stormtroopers! FN-2187’s bravery really inspired Poe and he knew he had found an immediate friend. When they introduced themselves in the Tie Fighter’s cockpit as they were trying to escape he was obviously shocked to hear the human being behind him with the name of a droid. It showed the heartlessness of the First Order and the brutality of their stern regime as they turned real people into mindless followers without human names. He wasn’t going to treat his newfound friend in such a disrespectful fashion and so he gave him a name: Finn.
This shows another side of the dashing hero: his benevolence. He’s not just a fantastic pilot, he’s also a kind, caring person and the fact that he refused to call the stormtrooper by his robotic title is a beautiful thing to see.
3. Destroying Starkiller Base
Poe, clearly, is a wonderful pilot and it’s no surprise that he was able to single-handedly destroy the Starkiller Base after Finn, Rey, and Han and Chewbacca helped blow up the Oscillator. This was yet another a defining moment of his heroics and it reiterated, once again, how great of a pilot he really is.
4. Attacking the Dreadnought
Poe was established as a piloting phenom in The Force Awakens and so it was no surprise to see him back at his heroic ways at the very beginning of The Last Jedi. I mean he took on a Star Destroyer as a diversion so the Resistance Bombers could get in position to destroy the Dreadnought!
This was a defining moment for Poe because the movie diverted away from highlighting him as a hero and showed the recklessness of his disobedient actions. He was so intent on destroying the Dreadnought that he got dozens of Resistance fighters killed when they could’ve lived to fight another day. It showed that, while he is a great pilot, he isn’t a responsible leader and that’s much more important if you have the position of Commander in a war.
Poe thought his mission to destroy the Dreadnought was a success but it obviously wasn’t and General Leia made sure of letting him know that as she slapped him and demoted him to Captain. And for good reason. Was he concerned about his comrade’s deaths? No, he was reveling in the fact that he destroyed a First Order Mega Star Destroyer and he completely lost sight of all of the damage that he had done. Who knew he had such a gigantic ego?
This was a turning point for him because he thought his heroics were going to get celebrated and instead he was punished for disobeying a superior’s direct order and causing people to get killed for no particular reason other than his fame. It revealed to him that maybe his heroics weren’t always the solution to defeating the First Order.
6. Taking New Leadership
Poe trusted Leia wholeheartedly. I mean she treated him like a son. When she barely survived an attack by the First Order the Resistance needed a new leader and at that moment Poe just knew he was going to be the one standing in for Leia but, of course, he didn’t and had to remain under someone’s command, only this time it was a person he didn’t trust in the slightest.
Poe is a headstrong man who sees the war in a front lines vision. He’s not a strategist, he’s a fighter, and so when he was forced to sit down and follow someone with a strategic plan to evade the First Order rather than tackle them head-on like he would he was furious. He just knew Holdo was going to doom the Resistance to utter ruin.
I love Poe for his heroism but The Last Jedi showed that heroics weren’t going to win the day anymore against a force as crafty and mighty as the First Order.
7. Witnessing Holdo’s Plan
Poe was determined to rescue the Resistance single-handedly because he always has to be the hero in a situation but this time he wasn’t the hero. He was just an out-of-line, insubordinate, Resistance officer with a disillusioned vision of himself and his importance to the organization. That’s why Leia stunned him. Because he was out of line and needed to be taught a lesson.
As he sat in the escape pods and watched as the First Order still hounded the Resistance craft that Holdo was piloting he realized the genius of her plan. She was acting as a diversion while the rest of the Resistance would end up safely landing on Crait. At that moment he realized that sometimes foolhardy, brash plans like the one he was trying to concoct weren’t the right choices to make and that, at times, you have to know when to retreat if you’re fighting in a war.
It was because of Holdo’s brave sacrifice that he realized he needed to become a better leader and I believe this is the defining moment that transformed Captain Poe Dameron.
Poe was given the role of Commander as he led the Resistance against the First Order on Crait but unlike at the beginning of The Last Jedi when he saw the situation turning south he immediately called for his fighters to retreat. This is a big change for Poe after his earlier actions got dozens of people who didn’t have to be killed. It showed that he had matured as a leader and that the old, reckless Poe was no more.
9. Poe, the Potential Future General
At this point in The Last Jedi Poe is no longer taking orders but instead is giving the orders, with Leia’s approval of course. This shows how Rian Johnson slowly transformed him from being just a fabulous pilot to the smart, intelligent leader that Leia wanted him to be. He understands, after Luke’s diversion, that he must help sustain the spark that is the Resistance and that means sometimes running away when it is necessary. His story in The Last Jedi was seeing if he could handle his leadership skills being put to the test and I’m glad he passed with flying colors.
Who knows how his story will end in The Rise of Skywalker but I’m sure the lessons he has learned will culminate into a powerful conclusion for his story.
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Annlyel James is a prolific Staff Writer for Future of the Force. She is passionate about Star Wars and Marvel but loves a wide variety of movie genres. Follow her on Twitter @annlyeljames where she channels the Force frequently!