There are many unforgettable moments in Star Wars: The Last Jedi – 91%, but it’s hard for either of them to beat Admiral Holdo’s attack at lightning speed against Supreme Leader Snoke’s flagship. This attack known as “the Holdo maneuver” is a fitting tribute to the leader of the Resistance and to that side, no matter how Star Wars fans feel about their part in the new trilogy, or the movie as a whole. In fact, even those who criticized parts of The Last Jedi will likely admit that Holdo, portrayed by actress Laura Dern, is responsible for one of the most amazing moments in Star Wars history.
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Outnumbered, armed, and out of options, Holdo aims her ship squarely at the gigantic supremacy of the First Order’s star battleship, and smashes it, right in the middle, decimating the crawling fleet. Best of all, fans who follow the franchise more closely know that Amilyn Holdo was a hero long before what was seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi – 91% thanks to the fact that several “secret” chapters of his life are told in the comics. However, for those who only follow the movies, and now the series, Holdo’s maneuver was more than enough to understand that the character played by Dern was not just anybody.
Many say that Star Wars: The Last Jedi – 91% is the best movie in the franchise since Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – 94% and some say it is one of the worst movies; The truth is that depending on how much director Rian Johnson is “hated” is that we will have an idea about how much a person claims to be against Episode VIII, because in this case it does have a lot of influence on opinions. And this is when everything gets more interesting, since despite the fact that the film does have flaws like many others, the negative reception from a part of the public is disproportionate to what we consider it should be.
First, a brief description of Holdo’s role in Star Wars: Amilyn Holdo, a longtime friend of Leia Organa, had always been a free-spirited, calm, and confident woman who marched at her own pace. Rebel by nature, there was never any doubt that Holdo would not only join the Rebel Alliance, but would also seize the opportunity to join Leia’s Resistance. Holdo’s biggest appearance in the Star Wars universe comes in the sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 92%, the eighth episode of what Disney has called The Skywalker saga within what its fans know as the sequel trilogy.
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In this film, Holdo takes command of the Resistance after the incapacitation of Leia (Carrie Fisher) during a First Order attack. During the movie, she and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) come into conflict. Amilyn Holdo acts as the antagonist to Poe’s story in The Last Jedi, only to change at the end and become one of the film’s heroines, and one of the characters most relevant to the Resistance plot. Holdo is introduced to us for the first time giving a rather soft speech in which one of the best lines of the franchise stands out: “We are the spark that will ignite the fire that will restore the Republic.” But despite that, it doesn’t say much that’s really inspiring. He simply states some facts, such as the number of survivors, with some bombastic words when it comes to the downtrodden and how they are his last hope, plus Holdo’s body language is stiff and his gaze is piercing.
This certainly has a lot to do with the impression the character made on the audience. The opposite occurred, for example, with General Hux’s speech in The Force Awakens. The character of Domhnall Gleeson caused a sensation thanks to that scene, but the films took care of blurring the villain, if possible in each scene. Holdo, on the other hand, convinced a larger part of the public when it was revealed that she was willing to die for her own and in favor of the Resistance mission. However, his presence can be considered as “problematic” by a part of Star Wars fans, while Hux’s is seen as a mockery of the directors or scriptwriters involved.
Why do people say they hate Holdo and consider him a problem? One of the complaints is that the maneuver he did came out so perfect and makes it look so “easy” that if so, some other character would have already tried it. It is rather sad to know that a part of the fans considers that only what has been seen in the previous films is all that can happen in Star Wars. So what’s the point of bringing writers or directors with new ideas to the franchise? We would never have witnessed a moment like that, but it is not the only complaint. Something that I did not particularly like about the scene of the Holdo maneuver is that there are people who claim that it “breaks” everything that is known about hyperspace travel. This opinion also leads us to another question. At what point have clear rules been established for hyperspace travel?
What we really do know is that a pilot must provide the hyperdrive with exact coordinates to know where it will arrive after entering hyperspace, about which much is not known either. All you have to do is enter any wiki, such as the one on Fandom, to read that this is described as “a mysterious plane in the universe.” There is no rule book on hyperspace travel and it is normal that in the following films it is made and unmade with the information we thought we had, such as the scene of Leia flying in space. Movies have said little about it because it’s not relevant, or at least not in the way many want to believe. However, depending on how people take it, this could be a problem for the franchise.
Asking directly about why Admiral Holdo is a problem for the franchise, many may not even know what to say. But on analyzing it a bit, it has a lot to do with the impression it made in other scenes as we mentioned earlier; after all, although she and Leia always wanted the best for the Resistance, they both have a very different “style”. In something reminiscent of what happened with Brie Larson in Captain Marvel – 60% due to the opinion of a sector of the public, what the spectators saw in her for certain details about the way the character was written seems to be of greater relevance even than the fact that many considered that she was exaggeratedly powerful in as for the scene of his sacrifice.
The contrast of his speech with that of Leia to his troops during The Empire Strikes Back when the Rebellion is evacuating Hoth is striking: his voice is strong and clear, he walks so he can look all his troops in the eye and does not use bombastic words; all instructions are clear and unambiguous. On the other side of the coin, once Holdo gives his speech, Poe Dameron walks up to her to ask what should be done. The admiral loses the audience’s sympathy as she turns around and asks, “Wasn’t Leia’s last action as a commander demoting you?” Said in a condescending tone, as the audience is expected to lose sympathy for Holdo and instead sympathize with Poe Dameron.
Applying real-world logic, it would be very easy to accept Poe Dameron’s demotion; his actions and decisions led to a great loss for his side. Also, if one were to immerse oneself in Star Wars lore, one would discover that the bombers that were destroyed were manned by soldiers under Holdo’s leadership, so it was his comrades who died. That helps the viewer understand, and perhaps even sympathize, with Holdo’s condescension towards Poe Dameron. There is only one small problem: this information is not presented in the movie at all.
Actually, this is a major flaw of Holdo: hiding information about her from the audience. There is a lot of information about Holdo that, if viewers had taken into account during any moment of the film before the climax, it would have made Amilyn Holdo a much more likeable and personable character, which also leads us to wonder why they would necessarily want this from a female character. Although even with a backstory, there is still a major conundrum, which is the fact that we never know what her plan is until near the end and throughout the film, there is only one scene that suggests that Admiral Holdo has a plan: the scene where Poe stands between several high-ranking women in the Resistance apparently looking at maps.
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