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The Star Wars franchise is huge, so it’s not always easy to keep track of all its characters. Since she first -- and last -- appeared in The Force Awakens, some fans have wondered whatever happened to Jess Pava. But luckily, the actress who brought her to life has set the record straight.
While promoting her new movie Underwater, Jessica Henwick spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about some of her previous roles, from Iron Fist to Game of Thrones, and discussed what's ahead in The Matrix 4 and Godzilla vs. Kong. When the topic of Star Wars came up -- and the actress was asked if Jess Pava survived the final battle in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker -- Henwick made one thing clear as to the fate of her character:
Jess Pava is alive and well. You can read up on all her adventures in new spinoff comic books. So, don’t worry, she’s doing great. She’s living her best life.
She’s right -- the X-wing pilot has featured in numerous issues of the Poe Dameron comic series, where she has continued her heroic journey with the Resistance. Though Jessica Henwick didn’t get a chance to bring some of Jess Pava’s most exciting moments to the big screen, she is well aware of the huge fan following that her character has amassed:
I think people really connected to the fact that she was the first female X-wing pilot that we’ve seen — in the films, anyway. The amount of fan fiction and fan art was beautiful. That community is wonderful.
But despite all the positivity surrounding her character, Jessica Henwick told THR that her role in The Force Awakens actually came as a result of a pretty big heartbreak:
I was auditioning for a different character, actually, so I spent six months auditioning for that character. And then, at the end, J.J. said, ‘I want you to be in the film, but I want to write a character for you.’ That’s how Jess Pava was created. So, it was a very, very long experience. It’s hard because I’ve been doing this long enough to know that you go in, audition, put it to the back of your mind, don’t think about it and don’t get emotionally invested. But, after six months, you can’t help but just desperately want it. I’m also such a big J.J. fan. So, I was a mess at the end of those six months.
The role in question? Rey. So, yeah, it’s easy to see why she may have been a bit disappointed. But it’s still unfortunate for fans of Jessica Henwick’s character that we didn’t get to see more of her. And Jess Pava isn’t the only Star Wars pilot who ended up with limited screen time in the most recent trilogy. Fans of Rose Tico, who we first met in The Last Jedi, are still incensed that she was barely present in The Rise of Skywalker. Maybe if both actresses are free, their characters could team up for an adventure of their own.