In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley’s Rey, John Boyega’s Finn, and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron were the newcomers, and audiences took a liking to them immediately. But while Rey has become a new feminist hero, and Finn’s background as a Stormtrooper has been closely analyzed since the movie’s release, very little is known about Isaac’s character, Poe Dameron. It's known he’s a fantastic pilot who fights for the resistance, and that he’s BB-8’s original owner, but that’s about it. In fact, one of the repeated requests fans have been expressing is to see more Poe in the two upcoming films.
Yet while wondering where Poe comes from, what his motives are, and who, if anyone, he might be romantically linked with, are all interesting questions, I’m more interested in a different one. Will Poe Dameron be this trilogy's lovable scoundrel? Will he win fans' hearts with a little bit of sarcasm and a little bit of charm? In essence: Will Poe Dameron be the new Han Solo — or is he already?
In the trilogy, Han Solo became a beloved, iconic character for a variety of reasons. Though it took a while for Princess Leia to fall for his charms, she eventually did, and so did a world of admiring viewers along with her. Han was brave and strong, if reluctant and self-absorbed, and when the opportunity arose to take his money and bail or help out the Rebel Alliance, Han passed the good guy test and chose to support his friends. His flaws balanced out his positives. He was good looking, yes, but also funny, charming, and a loyal friend to his co-pilot, Chewbacca.
That’s a lot for Poe Dameron to live up to. Now that Han Solo is gone, it’s not totally necessary that someone fills the void he left, but it would be a nice addition to the series if one did. Can Poe make the cut? He’s already earned his good guy badge by fighting with the Resistance. He’s brave and tough, able to make difficult choices when faced with danger. He’s charming, attractive, and loyal to his newfound friend Finn, whom he renames as a gesture of camaraderie and as a giant middle finger to the First Order. Fans saw a little bit of his humor and charisma in The Force Awakens, but perhaps not enough. Which is why we’ll have to wait and hope that the character is given more screen time in the next two movies.
But if Poe doesn’t turn out to be the next Han Solo, he might make his own mark. There are already theories circulating that Poe might be the Star Wars universe’s first LGBT character. A number of fans, writers, and journalists have noted this possibility, and are wondering if Poe is being set up to later reveal that he is gay. BleedingCool noted that, “[Poe] is presented as a quintessential action-hero type, with one small exception: he doesn’t really flirt with the ladies. That kind of young, attractive action hero type usually has some flirtatious or suggestive interactions with women, even if nothing comes of it.” Then there was an interesting interaction on the Ellen DeGeneres show when the host asked if audiences can look forward to any romance among the new main trio. As Hypable pointed out, Isaac jumped on the question, saying “I think it’s very subtle romance that’s happening. You know, you have to just look very close — you have to watch it a few times to see the little hints. But there was.” Was he simply suggesting a romance between Finn and Rey, or is the friendship between Poe and Finn something more?
The Force Awakens is already progressive by featuring a woman as its main protagonist, a female villain, a black Stormtrooper, and a Latino fighter pilot, Star Wars would make even more waves throughout this new trilogy by adding a gay character. Poe Dameron may or may not be the next Han Solo, but perhaps he can make a name for himself, and the newest generation of Star Wars fans will have a hero of their own.