Rey has been met with complaints about being “a Mary Sue,” Finn has been criticized for his inconsistent character development, and Kylo Ren has been quite controversial himself among the Star Wars faithful. By default, then, Poe Dameron is probably the most popular new character introduced in Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy.
He’s a hotshot pilot with a roguish attitude who strives to do the right thing (which makes him basically Luke Skywalker and Han Solo rolled into one), and the great Oscar Isaac has always played the character with an effortless likeability. To celebrate all of this, let's take a look at some of Dameron's greatest and most iconic moments in the franchise to date.
10 Letting Finn keep his jacket
This is the moment that has had millions of Star Wars fans shipping Finn and Poe since 2015. Even after Finn was given his own romantic interest, Rose Tico, in The Last Jedi, fans are still holding out hope that they’ll see Finn and Poe get together before the Skywalker saga is out, just because Poe once gave Finn his jacket.
Finn kept hold of the jacket after it was all the remained of Poe when they escaped the First Order’s grasp in a TIE fighter and then crashed it on Jakku. When they reunited, Poe told Finn it looked better on him and let him keep it.
9 Taking on a First Order fleet by himself
At the beginning of The Last Jedi, the Resistance base is faced with an impending attack from the First Order. The evil organization has a fleet ready, hovering above the planet they’re on, so Poe decides to take action. Against his orders, he flies up in an X-wing fighter to take on the fleet.
After some snarky byplay over the communications system, the action kicks off and Poe manages to take down an entire Dreadnought ship with just his plucky little X-wing. We’ve seen some impressive feats of space warfare in the Star Wars saga, but this might top the list.
8 “Who talks first?”
In the opening scene of The Force Awakens, a First Order fleet descends upon Poe Dameron and he’s quickly captured by Stormtroopers. He tries to fire his blaster at Kylo Ren, but the masked villain stops the blast in mid-air using the Force.
Kylo Ren, wearing his distinctive mask and wielding his lightsaber, approaches Poe to interrogate him. We’ve seen a million scenes like this in Star Wars movies before. This time, cool as a cucumber, Poe totally undercuts the tension between the two when he asks Kylo Ren, “so, who talks first? You talk first? I talk first?”
7 Resisting Kylo Ren’s torture
When Kylo Ren and his First Order guards brought Poe Dameron up onto their ship in The Force Awakens, they tortured him for his knowledge about the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker. However, he put up with the torture and managed to make it through everything the First Order had to offer without giving up the information.
This was reminiscent of the scene in The Empire Strikes Back in which Han Solo sustains similar torture from Darth Vader before being taken off to be frozen in carbonite. It’s just one of the many ways in which Poe is a spiritual successor to Han.
6 His reunion with BB-8
The relationship between a man and his droid has been explored a lot in the Star Wars saga. The best example of this in The Force Awakens is the unspoken bond shared by Poe Dameron and his feisty droid BB-8.
After being separated by the TIE fighter crash, Poe and BB-8 reunite for the assault on Starkiller Base. The shot of BB-8 sitting in the back of Poe’s starfighter as a fleet of TIE fighters thunders towards them is one of the most memorable in the whole movie (and it appeared in the initial sizzle reel that first got fans excited for it).
5 Blowing TIE fighters out of the sky over Starkiller Base
Many Star Wars fans noted similarities in the plots of A New Hope and The Force Awakens, with some considering the latter to be a veiled remake of the former.
Granted, both of them end with a third-act battle sequence in which a rebellious force flew out to an evil empire’s planet-killing space station. At least The Force Awakens has more advanced CGI, though, so it’s sort of like Disney’s live-action remakes of their animated classics – the same, but it looks better. Poe Dameron shooting TIE fighters out of the sky over Starkiller Base was really a sight to behold.
4 Earning General Leia’s approval
While other Resistance leaders like Vice Admiral Holdo don’t agree with Poe Dameron’s hotshot methods, General Leia approves of them. She sees something in Poe.
In a way, it’s almost like she sees Poe as the son she never had. Her biological son fell to the Dark Side and went on to become the evil ruler of the galaxy. However, Poe has all the strong values, passion in his heart, piloting skills, and roguish attitude that she could’ve hoped for from a son she had with Han Solo. So, she has sort of become his surrogate mother and he’s become her surrogate son.
3 Scratching BB-8’s belly like a puppy
Poe Dameron has a special relationship with BB-8 – even more special, arguably, than Luke Skywalker’s relationship with R2-D2 was. Artoo never had any respect for Luke and would often make fun of him. Sure, they were always there for each other, but they didn’t have the man-and-his-dog vibe that Poe and BB-8 share.
At one point in The Last Jedi, when Finn and Rose returned from their mission with BB-8 and Poe was reunited with him once again, Poe got down and literally scratched BB-8’s belly like a puppy. Apparently, 30 years after the original trilogy, droids are so advanced that they’re sensitive to touch.
2 Escaping from the First Order with Finn
The Force Awakens wastes no time getting its lead characters together. The opening scene sees Poe Dameron acquiring a partial map to Luke Skywalker’s location before being captured by the First Order and taken up to the mothership.
There, he unites with a reformed Stormtrooper named FN-2187 (who he quickly gives the more personable name “Finn”) and the pair escape in a stolen TIE fighter. The TIE fighter turns out to be tethered and they have to shoot the tether before they can leave. It was a spectacular action set piece to open the movie with, setting the mood perfectly.
1 “We are the spark that’ll light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down.”
It’s hard to shake the feeling that some of the writers behind the new Star Wars movies being made by Disney are trying a little too hard to write one-liners that will be considered among all-time classic Star Wars quotes. However, this one from The Last Jedi, uttered by Poe Dameron, has actually gotten there.
Poe might be considered a renegade, but really, all he wants to do is win the latest intergalactic war for the Resistance. His superiors don’t do very much resisting, and in fact discourage Poe’s own efforts. He sums up his worldview in this one perfect line.