"Poe evolved from the initial idea to what ended up being in the film," Oscar Isaac tells PEOPLE of his character

By Chris Tauber
Updated December 05, 2015 01:00 PM
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Credit: John Lamparski/WireImage

Of all the mysteries surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the most information is known about Oscar Isaac‘s character, X-wing pilot Poe Dameron. Isaac himself has been fairly forthcoming with the hero he helped shape alongside director J.J. Abrams.

“We collaborated on the character and what it could be,” Isaac says in PEOPLE’s new Star Wars special issue. “Poe evolved from the initial idea to what ended up being in the film.”

The 35-year-old veteran actor (he plays mega-villain Apocalypse in this summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse) has revealed that Poe is “the best frickin’ pilot in the galaxy” and that “he’s been sent on a mission by a certain princess.” Trailers and other footage have also shown Poe being apparently tortured by bad guy Kylo Ren and facing off, then possibly bonding with former Stormtrooper Finn. Isaac says of Poe and Finn, “Their fates are intertwined.”

See exclusive photos, get a first look at new characters and learn more secrets from the cast and crew of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in PEOPLE’s Star Wars collector’s edition, on newsstands Dec. 9. And for more exclusive Star Wars news, come back to PEOPLE.com every day until it hits theaters Dec. 18

What’s also known is that Poe is apparently not part of the Skywalker lineage. A recent Star Wars comic series that tells (some) of the story between 1983’s Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens showed Poe’s mother as a Rebel pilot during the climactic battle to destroy the second Death Star.

Isaac has also said he thinks Poe grew up on Yavin 4, the lush home of the Rebel base in the original Star Wars movie that was shot in Guatemala, where Isaac was born.

Even if the Dameron family has its own tree (and yes, fanboys, that’s a reference just for you about the Force-sensitive tree that Luke Skywalker gave Poe’s mom at the end of that comic), Isaac himself has been affected by the generational pull of the Star Wars saga.

Return of the Jedi was the first movie I saw in the theater. I remember seeing it with my dad,” he says. “The moment when Darth Vader’s helmet comes off and you see he’s just a fat, sad old man was pretty intense. He was so vulnerable underneath there. The power of storytelling and of family is why Star Wars has endured.”