The following article contains spoilers for Rogue One.
The Star Wars Universe has hundreds of unique and interesting characters, some are major players like Luke, Han, Darth Vader, Obi Wan and, um, Jar Jar. Others have only a few seconds of screen time.
One thing that always made Star Wars unique was the backstory for even the smallest characters. The best of these was reserved for General Crix Madine, who appears for a few minutes in Return Of The Jedi, played by Dermot Crowley.
At first glimpse he's a Rebel General with dodgy taste in facial hair, however what if I told you that in the Extended Universe he was one of the most important figures in the conflict? He is, because he is a defector from the Empire and is directly responsible for the Rebel Alliance's plan to destroy the second Death Star.
Crix Madine was the leader of one of the Empire's most lethal and elite commando units, and responsible for many Imperial victories against Rebels and rogue systems alike.
(Rogue One has teased such troops as being part of it's story too.)
This gave him expert tactical awareness and a first-hand knowledge of Imperial equipment, tactics and politics. Much like Finn many years later, he grew disillusioned with the Empire and made the risky decision to defect.
Can you imagine keeping those thoughts and feelings to yourself with Darth Vader around and still keeping his trust to be in command of an elite unit? He's like Professor Snape and Russell Crowe's Maximus in Gladiator rolled into one.
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So Why Is Madine So Cool?
Sure he isn't an alien, nor does he have any exciting fight scenes. He doesn't even have a great Greedo-style death. Madine, however is the guy when it comes to turning the tide of the war.
Firstly, he plays a big role in the evacuation of Hoth, making sure than as much equipment and personnel survive the Empire's assault as possible.
Second, as soon as word leaks of the new Death Star, he begins to formulate a plan to destroy it.
Madine uses his first-hand experience and knowledge of the Empire and how the Death Star is being built (having been there when the first one was built) to plan the assault on Endor and the station itself. He works out how to secure the Shuttle codes and helps prepare Han Solo, someone who is not a ground commando by any stretch, to lead the attack and pass himself off as Imperial for the landing.
Let's face it, his previous attempt to blend in as a member of the Empire didn't quite work.
"It's An Older Code, But It Checks Out."
Some fans might think that Han should have flown and Madine should've been leading the attack on the ground.
However, Madine was smart enough to know that things might go wrong on Endor (as they did) and that Han possessed quick thinking and balls of steel and that he'd be far more useful on the ground. Indeed, the battle is turned in the Rebellion's favor when Han uses the Scout Walker to pose as an Imperial.
Nevertheless, Madine did feature in a deleted scene during the battle piloting his own ship, so he clearly had some experience as a war pilot.
But if nothing else so far has convinced you, think about this:
Madine is trusted by the Alliance to be fourth in the chain of command!
He is only behind Mon Mothma, Leia and Admiral ("It's A Trap!") Ackbar despite being a former Imperial soldier and relatively new in the Alliance. When you think about it, that's pretty damn amazing.
Dermot Crowley also deserves credit for building mystique as a character despite having to wear an outrageously fake beard to fit in with the action figure prototype Kenner had already put into production for the Return of the Jedi line.
Madine is so cool that I was actually gutted when I learned that Mads Mikkelsen wasn't playing him in Rogue One. (My previous rumor article about that topic can be found here.)
There are also a several scenes that were featured in the Rogue One trailers that didn't make it into the film. A few of them are highlighted in the video below.
General Madine does not appear by name in Rogue One, however it's possible he's present as one of the Elite Shock troopers, or as part of the Rebel contingent. Several characters approximating him appear, with Riz Ahmed's Bodhi also being a defector from the Empire. This lends some credence to the theory that Madine defects after the events of Rogue One or A New Hope and he may yet appear in another spin off, particularly an Obi Wan movie. Despite the downbeat (come on it's obvious) ending for the team of Rogue One, their victory would clearly inspire other Imperial officers, and show them that they can make a difference. It's entirely possible that the Battle Of Jeddah was the reason Madine turned to the Rebellion. However, that's not shown onscreen.