The Star Wars films are defined by the many pairings that have anchored these stories about a galaxy far far away. Whether it’d be the soured mentorship of Anakin and Obi-Wan, the congenial partnership of Han Solo and Chewbacca or even the bickering rivalry between Kylo Ren and Rey, these films have been built on strong bonds. And there is perhaps no more celebrated pairing in this most recent trilogy than that between Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega). Their chemistry in The Force Awakens was so palpable that it spawned a million fanfic stories — not to mention art — that ‘shipped’ (aka romantically linked) the two. One person who truly wished the Poe-Finn couple could’ve become canon on the big screen is none other than Isaac himself.
Chatting with Remezcla ahead of the premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the latest (and seemingly last) entry in the nine-film Skywalker saga, the Guatemalan-Cuban actor admitted that the spark between Boyega and himself was something the two couldn’t really hide. “I think that he and I immediately had a real intimacy,” he shares. That intimacy is what made these two rebel characters so easy to queer if only in people’s minds.
“We were not afraid of that in the first film,” he adds. “And so I think that allowed for people to see themselves in it. For me, I was excited and hopeful that maybe this would be bold enough to take it into a stronger direction. But ultimately, they weren’t going to do that. I thought they should have been boyfriends.”
Alas, as he confirmed it in our interview (and as we later saw in the final film), Finn and Poe remain the best of friends. But nothing else. Indeed, just as The Last Jedi obliquely hinted at a straight romantic partner for Finn in the character of Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), the latest J.J. Abrams-directed pic also introduces Isaac’s character to a new female character he flirts with throughout – hinting at both at a shared past and a possible future together.
Those fearing Poe’s underlying queer vibe would be gone need not worry. The swagger of Poe Dameron remains intact in the film, making any and everyone he comes into contact fall for his undeniable charm. Much of that is owed to Isaac’s magnetic charisma, which has always made his Poe a funny, witty, and flirty renegade built along the same lines as Harrison Ford’s iconic Han Solo. But in The Rise of Skywalker, his charm is helped by an ensemble that may well have made Poe into the most fashionable rebel pilot the Resistance has had since, well, Han Solo himself.
Since much of the action of the new film has our beloved pilot out of the skies and down on the ground, his wardrobe is less uniform-looking. When Isaac learned of that fact he immediately had ideas for what Poe might wear: “He’s a military guy,” he remembers telling Michael Kaplan, the film’s costume designer. “I’d love for him to have a bit of, like, a special ops kind of thing to him.” And knowing Poe and friends would be heading down to a desert-like landscape, he even suggested Poe should have what he called a “military scarf.”
“And, of course, Michael Kaplan being totally fabulous comes up with this beautiful infinity scarf,” Isaac shares with a smile, knowing it wasn’t quite what he had in mind but arguably the kind of costume flourish that makes it all that more iconic. Add in the very tight-fitting pants he dons throughout (“a little tighter than I had imagined them!”), as well as Poe’s perfectly coiffed hair, and you begin to understand why Isaac so demands the camera’s attention no matter whether he’s bickering with Chewbacca on the Millennium Falcon or turning on a flashlight in a cave as if it were a lightsaber.
As the world readies to see the finale that will cap three trilogies four decades in the making, Isaac was surprisingly chill. “It feels fulfilling. Obviously bittersweet,” he says. “But definitely there’s a feeling of, Wow, we climbed the mountain! Now we can stand at the top of it and feel happy that we’ve climbed it, you know?”
He just hopes fans will have “a really fulfilling experience,” and “feel like this really tells the story of the nine movies.” For that is what The Rise of Skywalker offers its viewers, with callbacks and cameos to satisfy the most devoted of fans as well as a crackling climax that’s bound to have galaxies near and far chattering for years on end.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters December 20, 2019.