There was always something enigmatic and ethereal about Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, but it turns out — something more was at work.
Laura Dern has revealed that her violet-haired Resistance leader, like Leia Organa herself, was Force sensitive.
Even after multiple viewings there are still surprises to discover about The Last Jedi, and as the movie debuts Tuesday on Blu-ray, here’s something else for Star Wars fans to consider.
Dern made the revelation in a recent interview with EW after being asked if there was any more to Holdo’s backstory than we saw in the film. She said she talked in depth with writer-director Rian Johnson, producer Ram Bergman and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy about the character’s history
“In their minds, and in their understanding of the origin story, we know that she was a true rebel in the Resistance, and in our culture we might have called her a hippie,” Dern says. “But she was longing for peace, and a revolutionary in that way, and wanted to be trained by and led by Leia, who taught her everything she knew. She wanted to come up in the ranks to support Leia’s mission, but also had this otherworldly side that does involve the Force.”
She doesn’t swing a lightsaber. She doesn’t stand on her head. She doesn’t pick up a box with her mind. But then again, neither did Leia. Holdo wields the Force in a different way.
As Luke Skywalker tries to impart to Rey in the film, connecting to the Force isn’t always about fighting. Sometimes it’s just about being able to see beyond yourself and tap into a strength and vision that manifests itself not in combat but in leadership.
This is more than a fan theory. The Force connection is something Dern and the filmmakers actively embedded in Holdo’s character.
“There’s something about her that longs to protect it, and holds that with great care,” Dern says. “There’s a sort of a light on and a wisdom that she speaks about in the film, and speaks to Oscar Isaac’s character briefly about it.”
Here we get into spoiler territory, so fair warning …. But that also explains why Holdo wasn’t afraid to sacrifice in a critical moment. She knew there is life and power beyond what we see.
“Yeah, her primary goal was to protect the light, to protect the Force, and to keep the revolutionaries alive,” Dern says. “And I think the film speaks so beautifully to that with this last image of the next generation of the Resistance, you know?”
Dern is referring to the child commonly known as “Broom Boy,” the young slave on Canto Bight who looks up at the stars while cleaning the stable, and raises the broom he mystically drew into his hand as though it was a lightsaber.
The aspect of Holdo not only fits with the theme of the “democratization of the Force,” but it corresponds with other elements of Star Wars canon, like Claudia Gray’s YA novel Leia, A Princess of Alderaan, set when the future general was a teenage diplomat-in-training. In that book, released last year, Leia befriends a young Holdo and notes her unusual monotone, brightly colored outfits, and overall haunting demeanor. She’s … weird.
At first, it’s off-putting for Leia, as it was years later with Isaac’s Poe Dameron. Holdo’s strangeness may have adjusted as she got older, but it is a reflection of her deep Force connection. In a way, she is a savant.
And that may also be part of her deep connection with with Leia. This is where it strays into fan theory, since Dern says it wasn’t specified by Johnson, but these two women may have shared a friendship forged through the Force.
“It sounds great,” Dern says with a laugh. “I mean, you would think, you would think.”
The Last Jedi Blu-ray collection goes on sale Tuesday, and you can hear the full interview with Laura Dern tomorrow on EW Radio’s Behind the Scenes show, airing at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT on Sirius XM, Channel 105.