After watching Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, you may have walked away with more than a few questions about everyone’s favorite sequel trilogy X-Wing pilot, Poe Dameron. It turns out that the hotshot hero wasn’t always so heroic. There was a time in his youth when he illegally smuggled spice with Zorii Bliss and the Spice Runners of Kijimi. So how did he go from a life of crime to one of valiant purpose?
That’s what the new Star Wars novel titled Poe Dameron: Free Fall, by Alex Segura (Archie, Silent City), is set to explore. IGN is excited to exclusively debut the first chapter of the book for you to read before its release on August 4. Check out our interview with Segura for some insight on the novel, then you can find the Chapter 1 excerpt at the end of this article.
“I hope readers will feel like this book serves as an exciting, character-driven follow-up to The Rise of Skywalker – in that it answers a number of Poe questions they probably have after watching the film,” Segura told IGN in an email interview.
For Segura, the character of Poe Dameron was especially interesting because his morality finds itself to be a bit more on the flexible side.
“I love the complexities of the character – he’s charming, a bit of a scoundrel, not afraid to bend the rules – but he’s also driven by loyalty and legacy, and friendship. He’s a hero, but in a world where there is absolute good and absolute evil, Poe is a bit gray,” Segura explained. “Characters like that really appeal to me as a writer, because we get to experience their struggles on the page and it creates a lot of compelling moments.”
Free Fall reveals what gets Poe off his homeworld of Yavin IV and sets him on the path to becoming the Resistance fighter seen in the films. We’ll meet a Poe still in his teens and the novel will cover the bulk of his time with the Spice Runners of Kijimi. You can, of course, expect to see Zorii Bliss and Babu Frik, but also many new faces from Poe’s past.
Those who read the Marvel Comics mini-series Star Wars: Shattered Empire will have already met Poe’s parents, A-Wing pilot Shara Bey and soldier Kes Dameron of the Rebel Alliance. They play a key role in the book, even though one of them has already passed on when it begins.
“Poe’s parents are ever-present, even though by the time the novel starts, Shara Bey has died. But the weight of her memory, and the weight of his father Kes Dameron’s expectations are always there,” Segura shared. “Poe feels a lot of responsibility – to his parents’ legacy, mainly – and that doesn’t always mix well with his own youthful curiosity and desire for adventure. It’s the core of Poe’s conflict, as he leaves home and sets out on this big adventure – he has to basically see everything through the prism of what his parents would want him to do, and I feel like that’s a really universal idea – that we’re often trying to square the things with do with the idea of what’s expected of us, and we eventually learn that we have to create our own set of rules while still honoring what came before. Even though they’re ‘on camera’ for only part of the novel, the influence they have over Poe and how he reacts to things is immeasurable.”
And what about Poe’s trusted friend and ally, BB-8?
“I don’t want to give anything away, but there is definitely an echo of this relationship, and I think readers will get a kick out of it,” Segura teased.