By Kevin P. Sullivan
December 21, 2015 at 12:00 PM EST

SPOILERS BELOW

Since we’re talking about The Force Awakens, every precaution has to be taken to make sure that even the smallest end-of-movie detail doesn’t reach the eyes of those who haven’t seen it. That includes stories about characters who definitely don’t die.

That’s the case with Poe Dameron, Oscar Isaac’s character, who makes a surprise reappearance in the second half of the film, after seemingly perishing in a TIE fighter crash during the first act. The ace pilot’s reappearance, however, wasn’t always part of the movie, as Isaac explained to GQ during his interview for their current cover. 

Back when Isaac was originally being considered for the film, J.J. Abrams summoned him to Paris to talk about the role of Poe. Everything sounded good to Isaac — Dameron’s a great pilot, he opens on the movie — except that the character was meant to die shortly after his introduction. It’s unclear from Isaac’s interview how Poe’s demise was meant to happen, but it’s easy to imagine a version of The Force Awakens where his fake-out death is his real death.

The news came as a disappointment to Isaac, who weighed the decision during his trip home. “I went back home [to New York], and I thought about it,” Isaac said. “Then I wrote [Abrams] and said, ‘Okay. I’ll do it!’ I figured it would be a cameo: I’ll come in, do my thing, and maybe it’s actually better not to have to sign myself up for three movies.” 

Abrams’ reply came quickly: Things had already changed. “Never mind. I’ve figured it out,” the director said. “You’re in the whole movie now.”

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