Is Lucasfilm Quietly Trying to Fix This ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Mistake?
The buzz around The Rise of Skywalker has settled down, with the movie looking like it’s going to be the least financially successful of the sequel trilogy. Many fans felt like Episode IX played like a rush job, with sloppy ret-cons that felt like they were pandering. However, there is a retcon that remains as yet unresolved.
That’s a retcon revolving Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac. That may sound surprising to fans who only pay attention to the movies, where his story seemed pretty straightforward. However, Episode IX altered the way his backstory played out in Star Wars novels.
What was Poe’s story?
The Force Awakens didn’t reveal a ton about Poe. We learned that he’s a hotshot rebel pilot who is not afraid to take risks to a fault. He’s reckless but he’s fiercely loyal, and he formed a particularly strong attachment to Finn.
The Last Jedi started off with Poe, who was not taking a battle all that seriously while taking it very seriously. His bold tactics help the Resistance, but Leia does not take well to having her orders disobeyed. When Leia is recovering from an attack, Poe runs afoul of Admiral Holdo, organizing a mutiny, until he belatedly realizes Holdo had a point.
In The Rise of Skywalker, Poe is less central to the action, as he’s there with Finn to help Rey gets the support she needs to defeat Palpatine. We learn a little about his past via Zoni Bliss, played by an obscured Keri Russell. Given all this information, Poe’s story seems straightforward, with no need for fixes. But there is more to Star Wars than movies.
What about Poe has to change?
In The Rise of Skywalker, we learned that Poe had been a spice runner before he joined the Resistance, making him not unlike Han Solo in that both were smugglers and both were and are scoundrels. Han and Poe interacted very little if at all in the sequel trilogy, but they seemed to share a kinship of a shady past turned into a heroic future.
Screen Rant explains that in comics and novels published prior to Episode IX, Poe was the son of two Resistance fighters, and Poe follows in their footsteps after his mother’s death. Poe joined the New Republic Defense Fleet, and then joined the Resistance after Leia founded it. These stories didn’t lean into the scoundrel part of Poe’s personality.
So now a new Star Wars novel called Poe Dameron: Free Fall will details Poe’s very early years when he has a headstrong, hotshot teenager. That feels more in line with the swaggering character that Oscar Isaac played. Once retconned, all will be right in the Star Wars world, at least as far as Poe is concerned.
Star Wars has always had sloppy retcons
Longtime fans may find these shenanigans amusing because wonky retcons have been part and parcel of Star Wars since at least 1980. The revelation that Darth Vader was Luke’s father made it seem like Obi-Wan flat-out lied to Luke about his father’s backstory.
In Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan chalked that up to “a certain point of view.”
Even odder was the revelation that Luke and Leia were twin siblings. This made the romantic edge the characters had in the original Star Wars seem downright creepy. Just imagine how this Star Wars dialogue plays now:
Luke: So what do you think of (Leia), Han?
Han: I’m trying not to, kid.
Luke (satisfied smirk): Good
George Lucas made the retcon even sloppier in Revenge of the Sith, when he decided to have Padme die in childbirth. So how come Leia says she remembers her mom in Return of the Jedi and that she mostly seemed sad? Not even the Force should be able to help a person retain memories in infancy.
As Harrison Ford often told George Lucas, “You can write this stuff, but you sure can’t say it.”