The Rian Johnson-directed film “The Last Jedi” was one of the most divisive and controversial entries in the “Star Wars” universe.
Many fans lamented the way that Johnson seemed to reject the storytelling elements that J.J. Abrams set up in 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” which kicked off the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy.
In addition to killing off Supreme Leader Snoke and Captain Phasma, Johnson also failed to bring back several characters that were introduced and beloved by fans in “The Force Awakens.” Although Johnson cut the notorious Knights of Ren in favor of his own red Praetorian Guards, there is another character that fans were looking forward to returning that never made it back to a galaxy far, far away.
Jessica Henwick Confronts Rian Johnson: ‘Why Didn’t You Bring Me Back?’
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British actress Jessica Henwick, 29, made her debut in the children’s show “Spirit Warriors.” Since then, she’s appeared in everything from “Game of Thrones,” “Marvel’s Luke Cake,” “The Defenders,” “Iron Fist,” and 2021’s “The Matrix Resurrections.”
She is also set to star in the sequel to Johnson’s critically acclaimed film, “Knives Out.” After she was cast, she asked Rian Johnson why her character, Resistance fighter Jess Pava, never made it back to the big screen.
In a new interview, Henwick revealed that she “loved her” character and “was meant to come back for the next one.”
“And then the director, Rian Johnson… I spoke to him about it the other day, because I finally have worked with him. I asked him, ‘Why didn’t you bring me back?’”
Apparently, Rian Johnson never brought the actress back because he thought her character died.
“I was like, no dude, I survived,” Henwick continued. “I have a whole series of comic books written about Jess Pava, and he didn’t know that.”
Fans Love The Comics… And So Does Jessica Henwick
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It’s a bit surprising to hear Johnson claim that he had no idea Jess Pava was alive because she plays a pretty big part of the Marvel comic book series “Star Wars: Poe Dameron – Black Squadron” that was published a year before “The Last Jedi” appeared in theaters.
Although it begins with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) on a mission to find Lor San Tekka, the comics continue up through “The Last Jedi,” with the rest of Black Squadron, including Snap Wexley, Karé Kun, Jess Pava, and Sura Javos, trying to defend Grail City of Ikkrukk from the First Order while Poe tries desperately to find allies to aid General Organa’s Resistance forces.
Some fans might not be surprised to learn that Johnson didn’t know about the comic book series, as many fans took issue with the way Dameron’s character growth was stunted from one installment to the next. In the film, Dameron is portrayed as impulsive, hotheaded, and dangerous. The film makes it seem as though he needed Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) to teach him how to become a “true” leader – something that already had been addressed in the last film and fleshed out in significant detail in the comic book series.
Although she didn’t get to appear in “The Last Jedi,” Henwick still appreciates the love fans gave her character in the comic book series.
“I love the comic books,” Henwick added. “It’s trippy seeing myself in actually hand-drawn form. It’s clearly modeled after me. Those comic books are amazing.”