A hero of the Resistance, he obtained the map to Ahch To from Lor San Tekka and rang the death knell for Starkiller Base. So how did things go so wrong for Poe Dameron, and what’s next for the hot-headed flyboy?

I must admit, of all the things I didn’t like in The Last Jedi, Poe’s character arc wasn’t among them; it made sense. Fresh off the victory at Starkiller Base, Poe Dameron’s confidence is at an all-time high. As he unwisely pleaded with Leia to move forward with the attack on the First Order dreadnaught, echoes of Han Solo’s admonishment to Luke Skywalker in Episode IV rang in my ears: “Great kid! Don’t get cocky.”

Where Did Things Go Wrong for Poe Dameron?

Of course, Poe did get cocky, and it cost the Resistance dozens of lives and ships. Still, Poe Dameron is filled with a heroic desperation and singular drive to combat the First Order. In many ways, Poe in TLJ reminds of us Maverick in Top Gun prior to Goose’s death; arrogant, overzealous, and over-confident. It takes further tragedy for him to realize that, if he wants to succeed as a leader, he needs to approach that role from a different perspective. Sadly, in Poe Dameron’s case, he didn’t come to this realization until it was too late.

The potential for greatness is there, however; Leia recognized it, and so did Vice Admiral Holdo. Despite that, Poe’s actions in proceeding with the bombing, and his subsequent, attempted mutiny, left the rest wondering whether or not Poe Dameron was capable of leading the Resistance. Even as he tried to do so, everyone still looked to Leia who had to prompt them to follow the ace pilot by declaring “don’t look at me. Follow him”!

So where does Poe go from here? Leia’s death, which J.J. Abrams will have to address in Episode IX, leaves a gaping hole in the Resistance leadership. Will that loss be the catalyst Poe needs to mature and grow into the leader the Resistance now desperately needs?

Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters in December, 2019.