Though we have heard that Poe’s involvement will be more substantial in The Last Jedi, we have not gotten many details. He was the breakout character from The Force Awakens, gave Finn his name, and he wasn’t even supposed to survive. Luckily Oscar convinced JJ to keep Poe around and we’ll get to see more of him in The Last Jedi. I’m going to try to put together everything we know and see if we can figure out what Poe is up to during The Last Jedi.
We know TLJ will start right where TFA left off. This means that the resistance is still on D’Qar and that the First Order knows this. Its likely that the first thing the First Order will do is attempt an assault. This is seemingly backed up by some of the shots in the trailer and the Star Wars Tie-in books.
“Meanwhile, Poe is busy doing some persuading of his own. He and BB-8 are making runs through the First Order’s latest assault fleet to clear the way for the Resistance bomber squadron, headed by ace pilot Paige. BB-8 will keep the coordinates straight. You look out for these First Order ships…”
The gif above looks like the surroundings that we see from the trailer with Finn still in the bacta suit, so it’s likely right before the above quote. This means that we will see Poe as the ace pilot early in the film. It’s after this that things get interesting for Poe. From the EW.com article we learn that Leia takes Poe under her wing and treats him almost as a surrogate son. Quoting Oscar Isaac:
Poe’s arc is one of evolving from a heroic soldier to a seasoned leader, to see beyond the single-mindedness of winning the battle to the larger picture of the future of the galaxy.
He is being groomed for leadership and that seems to upset some of the new members of the Resistance. Poe will have a confrontation with Laura Dern’s character Admiral Holdo. I believe this will be resolved in the third act with Poe taking command. He will assert himself as both the leader and fighter before the final battle of the film.
Oscar Isaac tells us a bit more about his character:
Well, you know I can’t say anything about the thing itself. But…He will be challenged, in a very intense way that will reveal a lot more about his character.-Oscar Isaac
So what exactly does he mean by “challenged”? This quote tells me that Poe will have to do more than just be a great pilot. He’s going to have to rise to the occasion in many other ways. We know he is the one that sends Finn and Rose on their mission so he’s beginning to accept the role as leader.
We know Poe will be among the pilots of the ships scraping the surface of Crait. We know this from the Incredible Cross-sections book cover released at D23. Poe will almost certainly be leading this group on their missing to take down the “gorilla walkers”.
The action doesn’t stop there. After all that red dirt gets turned up, the ground looks very different, and the action might turn more toward more ground combat. We can glean this from the shot of Poe sliding toward a crevice, possible part of the Resistance base on Crait. I only say its part of the base because of the ladder visible to the right.
It’s possible he’s sliding for cover from an explosion, maybe the same or similar explosion of red dirt seen in the BTS footage. So the action doesn’t stop for Poe, and much like Luke Skywalker ejecting from his ship in Empire, Poe might do the same and take down a few First Order walkers from the ground.
Lets add it all up. Poe will lead the fighters away from D’Qar and help get as many ships away safely as possible. He will then send Finn on his mission. He will continue to get guidance from Leia and will be challenged by Holdo for his choices. Finally he will take charge and lead a mission against the First Order involving both piloting on Crait and more action on the surface. I suspect that like in The Empire Strikes Back, the Resistance will be on a down note for this film, but Poe will come out in charge of the Resistance and the future will be bright, carrying us to Episode IX in 2019.