The Force Awakens left the Galaxy reeling. The First Order had revealed itself to be a true threat on a galactic scale, launching a devastating attack that destroyed the capital of the New Republic. Thankfully, the Resistance had countered in an attack that destroyed Starkiller Base in turn, depriving the First Order of their most fearsome super-weapon. The Last Jedi will see the galaxy desperately attempt to organize itself against the First Order's relentless blitzkrieg, and in doing so, it will introduce us to a new character: Laura Dern's mysterious Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.
But just who is Amilyn Holdo? Little by little, the pieces are coming together...
Amilyn Holdo's Background
Amilyn Holdo was born on the idyllic planet of Gatalenta, a beautiful world famed for its tea, poetry, and meditative retreats. The planet has a strong Jedi tradition, one that the Empire was never able to successfully quash. Although Amilyn grew up with a strong belief in the Force, she did rebel in other ways. Where Gatalentans prized serenity, she craved action and adventure. Where Gatalentans tended to live austere lives, photos from The Last Jedi have shown Amilyn dressed in sweeping gowns.
Amilyn's career in politics began in the days of the Empire, when she was enrolled in the Imperial Apprentice Legislature two years before the events of A New Hope. There, she built a strong friendship with a fellow Apprentice, Leia Organa of Alderaan. Claudia Gray's latest Star Wars novel, Leia: Princess of Alderaan, has shown the formative years of their friendship. While Leia found Amilyn disconcerting at first, she learned to understand what she referred to as "Holdo-speak," and discovered that her colleague had a fierce and inquisitive intelligence. Holdo became a willing ally of the Rebel Alliance back in those early days.
We don't know much about Holdo's career between A New Hope and The Last Jedi, but she seems to have pursued a career in the military. After all, we've been told that she's a Vice-Admiral! It's unknown whether Holdo's serving with the New Republic or with the Resistance, but the former seems more likely. It would make sense for the New Republic's military forces to seek an alliance with the Resistance in the wake of Hosnian Prime's destruction.
What Should We Expect From Amilyn Holdo?
Naturally, many years have passed between Claudia Gray's novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan and The Last Jedi. Still, Gray's novel was overseen by the Lucasfilm Story Group, so we can safely assume that she hit the character notes that they'd asked for.
Leia: Princess of Alderaan introduces us to Amilyn Holdo as a cryptic, Luna-Lovegood-esque character who speaks in riddles. At the same time though, you can quickly tell that a fierce intelligence blazes behind her whimsical attitude, and there's usually a reason for her odd remarks.
Amilyn clearly believes in the Force, although her personal philosophy seems a little different to the Jedi tradition; it seems more likely that she either has a uniquely individualized view, or is part of a different Force cult. Some fans are speculating that she may have joined the Church of the Force. That's because of a curious chain of logic, which points out that (according to the earlier novel Bloodline) Luke visited Amilyn's homeworld early on in his quest to learn Jedi history. We know that quest eventually took Luke to Lor San Tekka, a priest in the Church of the Force, and from there, he headed to Ahch-To.
Intriguingly, the Amilyn of Leia: Princess of Alderaan is even more of a risk-taker than Princess Leia herself! In fact, the novel presents Amilyn as something of a bad influence on the young Leia, pushing her to take insane risks. For the most part, Amilyn seemed to rejoice in the idea of life-threatening danger, thrilled as she places herself (and Leia) in some pretty ominous situations. It will be interesting to see whether or not the intervening years have calmed her enthusiasm.
Is Amilyn Holdo LGBT?
Interestingly enough, a throwaway piece of dialogue from Leia: Princess of Alderaan has led fans to excitedly suggest that she may be the first LGBT character in the Star Wars movies. Teasing Leia over a childhood crush, Amilyn reflected that the most dangerous force in the universe is "a pair of pretty dark eyes." The novel continues:
"Then Amilyn thought about that for a moment. "Or more than a pair, if you're into Grans. Or Aqualish, or Talz. Or even — "
"That's all right!" Leia said through laughter. "It's just humanoid males for me."
"Really? That feels so limiting."
"Thank goodness it's a big galaxy.""
However, the dialogue is presented as humor, and there's arguably no evidence from the novel that Amilyn acts on these comments. In any case, it's doubtful that Amilyn's sexuality will play any prominent role in The Last Jedi.
Whether Amilyn Holdo is the first LGBT character in the Star Wars films or not, the character promises to be an intriguing one. What's happened in those long years between her time as an Imperial Apprentice and the days of The Last Jedi? How has a whimsical teenager become a Vice-Admiral? And is she an ally of Leia — or a rival commander? We'll find out when The Last Jedi premieres on December 15th.