When Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hit in December, we were introduced to a slew of new characters. Among them was the Orbak-riding freedom fighter Jannah, the leader of a small of a tribe on Kef Bir. Like Finn, she and her tribe were stormtroopers who rejected their programming and mutinied against their First Order superiors, freeing themselves from enslavement and living a peaceful life on Endor's oceanic moon. The group, known as Company 77, accompanied Finn when the Resistance made their final attack on the Final Order fleet at the Battle of Exegol, helping destroy Allegiant General Pryde's flagship and preventing thousands of Star Destroyers from leaving the planet.
Little is known about Jannah or her comrades beyond their stormtrooper past, although there have been heavy implications that she has a familial relation to Lando. The actress behind the role recently discussed her entry into the Star Wars universe, and that there is more to Jannah's story that we don't know...
In an interview with Digital Spy , actress Naomi Ackie said that her character has a backstory that could be worthy of getting the spinoff treatment:
Jannah was a completely new character and I like the idea that the Star Wars universe is expanding. I think Jannah could get a spin-off. She has a really rich backstory that JJ [Abrams] told me about, and a future that we still don’t know about.
Ackie was also asked if Jannah is Lando's daughter, but she was tight-lipped:
[She makes a 'my lips are sealed' gesture] That’s my answer.
She provided some thoughts on being brought into Star Wars in general, noting the responsibility she felt:
Getting the Star Wars role was really surreal. I loved playing Jannah because she’s strong and brave. She’s one of the first black female leads to enter the Star Wars universe in 41 years and I felt the importance of that. For me, it was about everything from having natural, textured hair to not being shy of talking about what more the industry needs to do.
WHAT THIS MEANS
At the moment, we know next to nothing about Jannah and where she came from, so any exploration into her background will always be welcomed. Her introduction in The Rise of Skywalker provided a nice moment for Finn to learn that he wasn't the only one of his kind who had run from the First Order, and a Disney+ series could be a potential success if the character's backstory is as compelling as Ackie claims. Elements of that backstory were notably absent in Episode IX , but a fleshed-out story about Jannah's upbringing as a member of the First Order could give us a really neat look at the life of a stormtrooper and how the military organization operates. The film all but outright says that Jannah and the rest of Company 77 are Force-sensitive when she and Finn discuss having a feeling and instinct that led them to abandon their stormtrooper ways, which opens all sorts of possibilities for her past and future.
Just like having the Force, it's heavily implied that Jannah is Lando's daughter. There were allegedly elements cut from The Rise of Skywalker that would have contextualized their first encounter during the Resistance's celebration, making it clear that she was his long-lost daughter. The Episode IX visual dictionary details a tragedy that struck Lando's family, in which his infant daughter was taken by the First Order to become a stormtrooper. The timelines for this event and Jannah's age add up perfectly, and the look of recognition on Lando's face when he sees her drives the idea home. Ackie's lack of a response, even after the film has released, all but seals it, and being sworn to secrecy means that a Jannah spinoff could still very much be in the cards.
It's clear that Ackie is very proud of her role as one of the first black female characters in the Skywalker Saga and the representation she brings not only to Star Wars, but to the film industry at large, and she seems to be open to the possibility of getting another shot at playing Jannah. The Rise of Skywalker has been panned by many fans in almost every aspect possible, but Ackie's performance has gone notably uncriticized and well received. Representing all facets of the Star Wars fandom is important, and Naomie Ackie appears to be just getting started as Jannah. A spinoff series focused on this character has promise if the story can hold up, and Jannah has demonstrated the toughness and bravery that Star Wars heroes need to carry a narrative.