(Note: This post contains some pretty major spoilers for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”)
Lucasfilm’s new “Star Wars” movies haven’t shied away from major character deaths. The passing of the torch to a new cast has created moments in which the old crew gave up some of the mantel in “The Force Awakens.” And although Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) factors highly in “The Last Jedi,” the movie definitely belongs to its new crop of heroes.
During one key moment in “The Last Jedi,” though, there’s a loss of a fan favorite character that’s easy to miss. It happens near the beginning of the film during the attack between the Resistance and the First Order, when Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) joins the battle and wreaks havoc on the opposing forces.
As Ren’s ship blasts away at the Resistance cruiser that’s commanded by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), he hesitates before firing missiles at the vulnerable ship’s bridge. His wingmen ultimately take the shot, and the bridge of the cruiser is destroyed, along with most of the Resistance’s senior leadership.
While the scene is mostly about Leia, who survives the attack but only barely, other characters aren’t so lucky. One important player from the days of the Rebellion among the casualties is Admiral Ackbar.
Ackbar first popped up as one of the primary leaders of the Rebellion in “Return of the Jedi.” He commanded the Rebel fleet as it attacked the Death Star II, along with Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). A member of the Mon Calamari race of amphibians, he’s best known for shouting “It’s a trap!” when it became apparent that the Empire was expecting the Rebel fleet and the vulnerable Death Star at Endor was a ruse to draw the rebels into a final battle.
In “The Force Awakens,” Ackbar returned as a commander in the Resistance alongside Leia. He has a chance to give a few orders and participate in the plans to destroy Starkiller Base, but he doesn’t have too much to do.
“The Last Jedi” sees Ackbar’s final moments. He pops up on screen once or twice, but he’s not much a part of the plot. But while Ackbar’s “Return of the Jedi” line has become a classic and a meme, he unfortunately didn’t get much of a send-off in “The Last Jedi,” dying off-screen.
Although Ackbar didn’t have another iconic line for his final moments, his loss does free up a chance for more characters to evolve. “Episode IX” looks like it’ll be all about Poe, Finn and Rey stepping into leadership roles and really taking the reins of the “Star Wars” story.