Rian Johnson Literally Forgot a ‘Star Wars’ Character Lived, Actress’s Career Cut Short

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Last Jedi bts Rian Johnson and Carrie Fisher

Credit: Lucasfilm

Fans of the Star Wars franchise are well aware of the fact that Disney’s sequel trilogy — Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019) — is divisive at best.

Rian Johnson with two other characters from Star Wars
Source: Lucasfilm

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JJ Abrams’s The Force Awakens was, perhaps, the least criticized of the three sequel trilogy movies, but it still garnered backlash from those who felt the new core trio — Rey (Daisy Ridley)Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), and ex-stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) — too closely resembled Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)Han Solo (Harison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) from George Lucas’s original trilogy.

Star Wars A New Hope, Luke Leia and Han (from left)
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Then, when Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi hit theaters, iconic Jedi Master Skywalker dies alone on Ahch-To after using the Force to project his likeness across the galaxy to the planet Crait in a bid to stop his nephew — Leia and Han’s son — Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) from destroying what is left of the Resistance, many fans hit the roof.

Star Wars The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker
Credit: Lucasfilm

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They felt Skywalker’s end was not befitting of the fan-favorite character, and Hamill himself seemed to agree with a pointed message to Mandalorian Season 2 finale episode director Peyton Reed following the actor’s return to the Star Wars story (in CGI form) as Grogu’s Jedi Master.

Jess Pava Star Wars Resistance pilot
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Now, another Star Wars Cast Member has shared details about Johnson — and it turns out he forgot her character survived, thereby cutting her career in the Star Wars universe unnecessarily short.

Jessica Henwick’s character Jess Pava — similar to original trilogy pilots like Wedge Antilles (Denis Lawson) and Jek Tono Porkins (William Hootkins) — became a fan-favorite despite not having much screentime as a member of Dameron’s Black Squadron.

Jess Pava cockpit
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Henwick, who is currently working with Johnson and Daniel Craig on Knives Out 2, was recently making the press rounds for Matrix Revolutions when she was asked about why her Star Wars career did not continue past The Force Awakens. As it turns out, Johnson was “confused about Pava’s fate”:

“I loved her and I was meant to come back for the next one,” Henwick said. “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?’”

Henwick admitted that her schedule at the time was “messed up,” but also revealed, “He thought I died in [Episode VII].” Not only did Pava not die in The Force Awakens, she continued to fight for the Resistance as a valued member of Black Squadron in the pages of the Poe Dameron comic.

“I was like, no dude, I survived,” Henwick said. “I have a whole series of comic books written about Jess Pava, and he didn’t know that. So he was upset.”

Rian Johnson and Hamill
Credit: Lucasfilm

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At this time, neither Henwick nor Johnson’s Star Wars futures have been officially confirmed by Lucasfilm. Although there are rumors that Johnson’s sequel trilogy — which was reportedly set to follow Ridley’s Rey training the Force-sensitive “broom boy” from the final scenes of The Last Jedihas been “shelved,” the director has publicly stated that the trio of movies is still in the works.

Would you like to see Jessika Pava return to Star Wars?

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