Caution: reading this will let you know which character does not die.
Though, in its current form, The Force Awakens leaves us with a new trio of heroes to mirror the original trilogy, apparently that wasn't always the plan. Speaking to GQ, star Oscar Isaac has revealed that back when he signed on to play Poe Dameron, the character was going to be killed, yet another tragic victim a'them Star Wars.
Isaac says he had been summoned to Paris for what he suspected might be a role in The Force Awakens. Sure enough, earlier that day, he had met with Abrams, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and Abrams had pitched him the character of Poe Dameron, a badass fighter pilot battling against the remnants of the Empire.
"He's amazing!" said Abrams.
"Sounds good!" thought Isaac, whose first experience in a movie theater had been seeing The Empire Strikes Back.
"He opens the whole movie!" said Abrams.
"Sounds great!" thought Isaac.
"And then," Abrams went on. "He dies."
"Oh," thought Isaac.
"I'd done that before," he told me later. "Set up the plot for the main guy and then die spectacularly." (He had played just such a role in The Bourne Legacy.)
Abrams could surely feel the enthusiasm drain out of the actor when he revealed Dameron's fate. "I guess that's not what you hoped for when you got on a plane to Paris," he said.
Despite his apprehensions, Isaac obviously signed on, but by the time he got back to Abrams, the role had already changed.
In his response, Abrams reportedly said, "Never mind. I've figured it out. You're in the whole movie now."
The rest, as they say, is history. A history wherein Poe Dameron somehow crash lands, gets tossed free of his jacket, and then just catches the bus back to the Resistance base or something. Don't worry about it. He's fine, okay?