The HoloFiles

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Alex Segura talks his New Poe Dameron Novel Free Fall, Expanding on Poe’s Background from The Rise of Skywalker, and Exploring the Star Wars Underworld

By George Bate

Author Alex Segura takes us behind the scenes of his new Poe Dameron novel.

Star Wars Holocron recently had the chance to interview Alex Segura, author of the new Star Wars novel Poe Dameron: Free Fall. Released this month, Free Fall chronicles the adventures of Dameron, who audiences know as a Resistance fighter in the sequel trilogy, as he navigates the underworld of the galaxy surrounded by the Spice Runners, a criminal group first introduced in The Rise of Skywalker.

Whereas the sequel trilogy primarily saw Poe amidst the battle between the Resistance and the First Order, the prequel novel Free Fall focuses heavily on the criminal side of the galaxy. When asked what made him interested in exploring this darker side of the universe, Segura had this to say:

“I love the story possibilities gray areas provide – and the underworld is a perfect setting for that kind of story. Poe is conflicted – he feels a loyalty to his new friends, but also realizes he’s thrown in with the wrong group. It also allows for a grittier, more grounded story. I’ve said before that the novel is basically a crime novel in space, and that’s very much the tone I was going for – to tell an intense coming of age story set in the criminal underworld of Star Wars.”

The fact that Poe Dameron was an established character in Star Wars canon prior to this novel creates it’s own challenges. Segura outlined his process for making sure that his novel fit well into canon:

“I think the initial challenge is to revisit the source material – not just as a fan, but as someone who’s going to be adding to the mythos – with an eye on Poe, and what is established. So I went back to Charles Soule’s great Poe comics run, Rebecca Roanhorse’s Resistance Reborn, Greg Rucka’s Shattered Empire and lots of other stuff to make sure I had a handle on everything that we knew Poe has experienced. Then, based on discussions with my editor and the Story Group, we figured out what we wanted to do with Poe’s origin – and how we wanted it to amplify what fans learned about Poe’s past in [The Rise of Skywalker.]”

Despite the fact that Zorii Bliss and the Spice Runners first appeared in final film of the Skywalker Saga, Segura had plenty of wiggle room when it came to expanding upon their characters:

“It was great – the door was open to bring in new ideas, create new characters, and expand the scope overall, while continuing the adventures of Poe, Zorii and the Spice Runners. I enjoyed the collaborative process a ton – and it made for a better book overall.”

J.J. Abrams, co-writer and director of The Rise of Skywalker, is a known perfectionist, often tweaking and tinkering with elements of his movies, particularly during the editing process. With Abrams’ unique filmmaking style, Segura outlined the process of writing Free Fall and how that related to the production of Episode IX:

“I can’t speak to JJ’s process, but the information between editorial/Story Group and me was great, and felt very natural. We knew the broad strokes from the moment I started writing, so that was helpful – and as more came in, we were able to make sure we reflected what was in the film clearly and to really make the story we were crafting sing.”

One of the reasons for the popularity of Poe Dameron as a character and, in turn, Segura’s new novel, is the casting of Oscar Isaac. The Guatemalan-American is not only one of the best actors working today, but also allows Latino audiences to see themselves represented on screen in a major franchise. Segura, who is of Cuban descent himself, talked about adding to the story of a character who means so much to fans all around the world:

“It was an honor! Oscar and I also share a Miami connection, so that was fun, too. I feel very strongly that we need to see and hear from more marginalized voices across all entertainment, so being able to write such an iconic character like Poe was truly something special.”

Previously, Segura worked on the popular Pete Fernandez Miami Mysteries series, something that informed the author on how to tackle a Star Wars novel:

“I wanted to paint a picture of what the gray areas of the Star Wars universe are like – what the criminal underworld might feel like. I wanted Poe to be thrust into a situation that was very much out of his control, and one that goes against his core beliefs. Pete is a conflicted, complicated character – and I see a lot of that in Poe, too. He’s impetuous, emotional, and instinctual, but he’s also very calculating and strategic, so I think it reminded me a bit of Pete and the adventures I told with him.”

On a final note, Segura also briefly touched upon some of his favorite moments with Poe in the films:

“Overall, I love Poe’s dynamic with Leia. So any scenes that involve them are tops for me!”

Poe Dameron: Free Fall is out now!

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, Disney+, and Disney-Lucasfilm Press

The HoloFiles

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