If Jannah Gets Her Own ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff, Naomie Ackie Already Knows One Thing
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker introduced many new characters into the saga. There’s the mechanic Babu Frik (voice of Shirley Henderson), Poe (Oscar Isaac)’s old flame Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell) and the former Storm Trooper Jannah (Naomie Ackie). The film already hints that Jannah could have more adventures in store for her. If she does, Ackie has already figured out one thing.
Ackie was at the press conference for The Rise of Skywalker on December 4. She described how she figured out the character of Jannah, and that revealed something about her that would most definitely warrant further exploration in future films. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.
This was Naomie Ackie’s first key to playing Jannah
Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Poe meet Jannah on Kef Bir. She joins them in battle against the First Order and proves herself quickly. The demands of her Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker action scenes also gave Naomie Ackie the key to creating Jannah’s character.
“I felt like it was really through the physicality,” Ackie said. “I felt like Jannah’s strength was in her body. Like, she’s a very grounded character.”
Delivering on Jannah’s strength
One Naomie Ackie knew that Jannah’s body and physicality would define her strength, she got to work training for it.
“So when I got to train, that’s when I started to be her,” Ackie continued. “Being able to do pullups and horse riding. I guess with that came a confidence that I hadn’t previously experienced.”
But there’s more to Jannah than brute strength
Once Naomie Ackie felt strong enough to play Jannah at her most heroic, she found there was more to her. Just as any good character is more than one thing, Jannah’s proclivity to action doesn’t preclude other qualities.
“[There was] a lot of me and [director] J.J. [Abrams] figuring out what the balance was between strength of character but also a vulnerable side,” Ackie said. “Someone with a heart, being able to not just be like strong but also sometimes vulnerability is strength at the same time. Trying to find a balance was really interesting. I feel like we found one.”
The future is wide open for this strong and vulnerable character
Now that Naomie Ackie has spent one movie learning how to play Jannah, she’s ready to take her on any more adventures the creators have in store. Earlier this year, Ackie filmed the pilot for a Game of Thrones prequel that will not air. Instead, HBO is making The House of the Dragon. Ackie is on season 2 of The End of the F***ing World. Right now, she’s still floored from seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
“Also, because we watched it yesterday, I’m not being funny, I left it like my heart was beating so hard and it was the most visually beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” Ackie said. “It makes you feel like a child. J.J. was the one who allowed us to be here, so I’m very grateful.