He's the greatest pilot in the Resistance and his hair is a work of art, but there's one thing we still don't know about Poe Dameron: How the hell did he escape Jakku?
In The Force Awakens (yes yes, spoilers etc), Stormtrooper FN-2187 orchestrates Dameron's escape from the torturous clutches of Kylo Ren, but their TIE Fighter crash lands on Jakku, and when the wreckage goes up in a ball of flame it seems only Finn has made it out alive.
About halfway through the movie, however, Poe displays a gift for resurrection when he makes his grand return to spearhead the Resistance mission to save Han, Chewie and Finn on Takodana. The exact logistics of how he made it out of Jakku alive were glossed over.
A convenient escape
A Deus ex Machina is a convenient plot development which defies logic but exists to keep a character or a story in motion. It's a pretty lazy method of storytelling.
When Oscar Isaac revealed in an interview that his role in early script drafts was limited to the first part of the movie, in which Poe died, a lot of people assumed that his survival of the crash on Jakku was a Deus ex Machina from the pens of J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan.
But, if you fancy hearing a plausible fan theory that's not about Snoke or who Rey's parents are, try this on for size: Poe is Force-sensitive, and it's this that kept him alive (whilst also explaining numerous other aspects of his character).
Let's start at the beginning: In Star Wars: Shattered Empire, whilst on a mission with Rebel Alliance pilot Shara Bey, Luke Skywalker recovers two saplings from a tree which grew on Coruscant, right at the heart of the famed Jedi Temple.
In his own words: "The Force is with them."
The final pages of Shattered Empire reveal that Shara Bey settled on the planet Yavin IV, with one of Luke's saplings planted right in front of the home she shared with her husband, Kes - and their child, Poe Dameron.
Long story short, Poe grew up with a Force-sensitive tree from Coruscant planted in his own front garden.
Which brings us neatly back to The Force Awakens. He has mastered the art of communicating with a droid, BB-8, much like Rey (whereas Finn, for example, cannot). He has excellent piloting skills, just like Anakin and Luke, making easy work of the TIE Fighter despite having never flown one before.
Perhaps most telling, though, is that seemingly miraculous escape from the wreckage on Jakku before Finn had even regained consciousness. If Poe, without even realising it, has some sort of ability to channel the Force in times of danger, there could be more to his survival than we initially imagined. It's possible that we'll get some clarity on that in Episode 8.
Of course, the Poe Dameron who piloted the rescue mission to Takodana could in fact be a clone... but that's a crazy theory for another day.
Brilliant header art courtesy of Angelica Bamundo on Behance.