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Oscar Isaac explains why the cost of war weighs heavy on Poe in Star Wars: Episode IX

Contributed by
Aug 30, 2018

Filming has finally begun on Star Wars: Episode IX, which means the film's new and returning cast is really digging in to what the third chapter in this part of the saga means for each of their characters. According to Oscar Isaac, for Poe Dameron it's now all about the cost of war.

Isaac returns for his third film as Dameron, the ace Resistance pilot and commander who spent much of The Last Jedi struggling with authority figures who outranked him, including General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), both of whom had bigger plans than the "jump in an X-Wing and blow something up" mentality Poe was carrying. That mentality allowed him to achieve quite a few things, including a major blow to the First Order early in the film, but his actions also helped to weaken the Resistance in some ways, and he had to learn and grow from that to become a better leader by the end of the film. Now, as Episode IX dawns, Poe is more aware of how much war costs.

“You want to get people (to question him) as opposed to have some sort of easy answer of like, ‘Yeah, yeah, he did the right thing. He was a hero,'" Isaac told USA Today while promoting his new film Operation Finale. "What's the cost of this stuff?”

The Resistance suffered major losses throughout The Last Jedi, including all of its remaining main fleet and numerous fighters and commanders, but that doesn't mean it's done for. As Leia says when the film ends, "We have everything we need," and Episode IX will see the group attempting to rebuild and regain ground in the fight against the First Order. According to Isaac, that will include them functioning as "guerrilla fighters, adhering closer to something like the Revolutionary War fighters or even the guerrillas in Cuba with Che and Fidel and all these guys living in the mountains, coming down to do some attacks, and going back and trying to hide from the 'empire' of the United States. It's that kind of ragged at this point."

That kind of fighting can be very effective, but it carries with it a great deal of sacrifice, and when discussing Poe's trajectory, Isaac seems particularly focused on leaders who dealt with massive losses.

“You hear about stories with (George) Washington as a general, where lots of people died based on their orders,” he said, “but that is part of leadership and that push-and-pull in the fight for figuring out what's the way to move forward.”

Obviously, Isaac can't get into too much detail regarding what's on Poe's mind, and we know a lot of this stuff carries over from the events of The Last Jedi. Still, it's nice to hear he's thinking so deeply about the effect these things have on Poe as a leader, and it'll be interesting to look for this way of thinking when we finally see the film.

Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters December 20, 2019.