Since the release of [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158), a slew of characters have shot to fan fave fame. Along with the new protagonists (all fantastic), we've seen the rise of TR-8R, Daniel Craig's stormtrooper cameo, Matt the Technician, and now hotshot pilot Jessika Pava.
Jessika Pava, also known by her callsign Testor, is a T-70 X-Wing pilot for Blue Squadron, and flew with Poe Dameron to attack the Starkiller Base. You can catch a glimpse of her in this Star Wars 7 TV spot...
She is one of a few X-Wing pilots to have speaking roles, and despite her limited appearance in The Force Awakens she has gained a significant online following. Why? Because she's pretty gosh darn badass!
Spoiler level: MILD. Only navigate away if you can't handle the gentlest of spoilers.
Who Is Jessika Pava?
We don't know a lot about this character, but what we do know is pretty cool. Jessika Pava must have joined the Resistance in her late teens/early twenties, considering the war stories she tells Poe Dameron...
"Two of his new squadron - Teffer and Jess, both human - were younger than he and each of them had stories to tell about the First Order that made Poe all the more determined that he had made the right choice [to join the Resistance]."
- Before The Awakening, by Greg Rucka
Pava idolizes Luke Skywalker, not as a Jedi master but because of his amazing piloting skills. In many ways, he is why she joined the Resistance in the first place. And it's a good thing she did: Jess was invaluable in the strike against the Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens...
"'Copy that!' Blue Three's pilot replied. Yanking back on her controls, Jess Pava took her ship up sharply, exposing the area in her wake to Poe's fire, which immediately reduced her attacker to flaming fragments. 'I owe you one!' she called out as she sent her vessel back into the fray."
- The Force Awakens novelization, by Alan Dean Foster
So why does Jessika Pava stand out from all the other X-Wing pilots? Well, it in a lot of ways it's because she's the first female X-Wing pilot in Star Wars...
It's kinda ridiculous that it took until 2015 for us to see a woman at the controls of an X-Wing and to be honest, this almost wasn't the case. There were actually several female X-Wing pilots in the first cut of Return Of The Jedi, but they were deleted from the final theatrical version (they also didn't make the cut for the 2011 extended re-release).
Although these women would have joined the ranks of many minor characters in Star Wars, it's a shame we never got to see the brave female pilots who fought in the Battle of Endor. With The Force Awakens already praised for positioning Rey as the new leading character, Jessika Pava is another small but important step forward. And as she is also one of the few Asian women in the Star Wars films, many people view her as desperately needed representation.
She's also super cute. Let's not forget that.
With Poe Dameron soon to get his very own comic book, it's highly likely we'll be seeing more of Jessika Pava, especially considering her recent fan following. Here are some things we'd like to see Jess do...
- Lead her own mission against the First Order
- Join the ground troops for a good old shoot-'em-up battle
- Enjoy some downtime with Poe Dameron, BB-8, and the gang
- Flirt with a certain main protagonist...
After all, Jess is a badass X-Wing pilot who helped take down the Starkiller Base: who wouldn't want to know more about her?!