It’s no secret that legions of “Star Wars” fans were mightily disappointed by Episode IX, “The Rise of Skywalker,” the concluding chapter of Lucasfilm’s most recent and otherwise beloved saga. The film, which currently holds a critical consensus of 56 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, suffered from a frustrating lack of originality and failed to thrill in its efforts to tie everything up with a neat little bow.
Even worse, it sidelined fan favorite character Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico. The actress suffered misogynistic and racist harassment online following her first appearance in 2017’s “The Last Jedi,” and it was difficult to see the move as anything other than a total pandering to the so-called fans who spewed such vitriolic bile.
[Editor’s note: The rest of this article contains spoilers for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”]
Yet another disappointing and somewhat confounding move was the early death of General Hux, played by Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson. Though he appears to be First Order through and through, General Hux reveals himself to be the Resistance spy within the fascist regime when he saves Finn, Poe, and Chewbacca from execution. It’s disappointing then, that he is executed shortly thereafter. It was one of the film’s only exciting reveals and an actor of Gleeson’s caliber certainly could have made the transition even more so. For his part, Gleeson felt similarly.
“It would’ve been nice to stick around a little bit longer, for sure,” Gleeson said in a recent phone interview. “It would’ve been nice to see the spy thing play out a little bit, but J.J. [Abrams] knows what he’s doing, and I heard a kind of gasp in the cinema when it happened, so I guess he was right.”
Following Hux’s death, Richard E. Grant’s General Pryde steps in as the next high-ranking officer to serve Kylo Ren. As charming as Gleeson is, it was fun to see Grant in the role as well. The Oscar nominee for 2018’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” proved a worthy successor.
“I’ve been a fan of Richard’s work for a very, very, very long time. So if you’re bowing out to anybody, there are a lot of worse people to bow out to,” Gleeson said.
Though fans may enjoy placing the blame solely on Abrams, Gleeson wholeheartedly supports the director’s decisions.
“The film is what the film needed to be, I think. There’s always stuff that you would like to see more of, but you can’t have a 17-hour film, I’ve been told. Apparently that’s not allowed, so I was happy with what was there.”
Gleeson will next appear in HBO’s comedy/thriller half-hour “Run,” from “Killing Eve” writer Vicky Jones and executive produced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.