Fans have had mixed feelings about General Hux throughout the sequel trilogy. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker executed his story perfectly.
This post contains Star Wars:The Rise of Skywalker spoilers.
When we first met General Hux, we knew we were in the presence of a Very Bad Man. His speech prior to the destruction of Hosnian Prime more than solidified the fact that he took his job, and all it stood for, very seriously. Maybe a little too seriously.
It’s not hard to miss that the way The Last Jedi framed his character was very different from what we saw in The Force Awakens. At first, it almost felt as though he was a completely different character, having gone from Nazi-like general to an officer everyone refused to take seriously.
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Looking back, it’s possible to interpret this as the result of how other characters viewed and treated him from that point forward, rather than an actual drastic change to the way he was portrayed. It’s possible that after Starkiller Base, the masses lost great respect for him — on both sides. He is no longer a man to fear. He’s General Hugs. He doesn’t scare anyone.
This is further evidenced by the way Kylo Ren treats him the moment he becomes Supreme Leader of the First Order. Kylo quite literally begins pushing him around, constantly putting him in his place, belittling him, and making him look incompetent and expendable.
And here lies the deep change within Hux that leads us into The Rise of Skywalker. General Hux knew he would never regain anyone’s respect. He knew that Kylo Ren would continue to publicly humiliate him. He knew his chances of ever being able to regain power in the traditional sense were lost.
So he decides to go about things in a more unorthodox fashion.
Hux quickly reveals that he is the Resistance spy the Supreme Leader is looking for — but not because he has fully committed to the other side of the fight.
No, of course not. Hux is so angry with Kylo Ren, and filled with so much rage toward all he is and all he stands for, that he decides it does not matter which side of the war wins as long as the Supreme Leader isn’t on the winning team.
The decision to make revenge Hux’s motivation for helping the Resistance is the best possible way his story could have been handled. It’s so true to his character and reinforces everything we know about him up to this point that we find ourselves cheering even if he’s still technically with the First Order (as in, if Kylo were to be eliminated, he very well may have stayed).
His death may have been quick and uneventful at surface level, but it held more meaning than you might have realized on your first viewing of the film. True to his nature, Hux hated Kylo Ren so much that he was willing to risk bringing down the entire First Order if it meant that man would lose the war.
In terms of character development, Hux made the final choice to remain an awful, selfish, bitter human being. Sometimes that’s how characters evolve in stories. They don’t always necessarily make 180-degree turns. Sometimes their arc ends when they dig their heels into the floor and decide to keep them there for good.
So the end of his story wasn’t rushed (any more so than it had to be — a lot happens in the first hour and a half or so of this movie). It ended exactly when and how it needed to. He made his choice and paid the price. Such is the way of the First Order.
At the point of his death, he had served his purpose. He gave valuable intel to the Resistance and revealed his motives. He was not the villain in this story, and once he handed over the information, it was over for him. He both won and lost. He felt he had no other choice.
How did your opinion of Hux change throughout the sequel trilogy? Was his death justified? Would you have rather seen him fully join the Resistance?