Over the course of the resurrected Star Wars saga, audiences have been introduced to a rich array of characters, from never-the-less-she-resisted Rey, the charming Finn, the criminally sexy Poe Dameron, the broody heartthrob Kylo Ren, the glamorous while badass General Amilyn Holdo, and the plucky and noble Rose Tico. But none of these thrilled us quite like General Hux, So, today we pay tribute the pettiest bitch of a galaxy far, far away.
Below lies spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
First off, yes. General Armitage Hux is a high-ranking space-fascist. We come here not to praise him or his heinous politics, but to recognize the dark-sided delight his existence gave us. In portraying Hux, Domhnall Gleeson took the sharp scowl of Empire baddies from the original trilogy, and he dug it so deep into his face it seemed he was ever-bracing for a real ripper of a fart. In The Force Awakens, he set his eyes to seething and delivered a furious speech before his Stormtroopers with a furious fervor reminiscent of genocidal führer Adolf Hitler. He gave us a villain who was merciless and mirthless. Then, he made him a joke. (And he did it before Taika Waititi!)
In the same flare for pratfalls and physical comedy he showed in Peter Rabbit, Gleeson threw himself into the violent abuses Hux suffers from his superiors, colleagues, and foes. In The Last Jedi, Supreme Leader Snoke used the force to toss Hux around like a ragdoll. Then the general’s office rival Kylo Ren started choking him out and chucking him about. Even when trying to intimidate prisoners of war, Hux couldn’t catch a break, getting bit by Rose and mocked by Poe. For all his ambition and status, Hux was the First Order’s favorite whipping boy. And Gleeson made sure we enjoyed every moment of Hux’s abuse as much as we enjoyed the memes of Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer getting punched in the face over and over.
In The Rise of Skywalker, Hux’s rivalry with Kylo Ren escalated from irritation to outright pettiness, when he revealed to Finn and Poe, “I’m the spy!” The rebels are understandably astounded to be helped by a First Order General who’s been long dedicated to their capture and killing. But Hux is quick to explain the betrayal of the new, self-appointed Supreme Leader, with a condescending eye-roll, “I don’t care if you win. I need Kylo Ren to lose.”
Hux is such a petty bitch that he will aid his sworn enemy to bring down the dude he hates at work. You can argue that he’s doing this for the greater good of the First Order, because he doesn’t trust the former Skywalker protégé as far as Kylo can throw him. But the sheer spite that spews from Gleeson’s mouth as he delivers these lines suggests Hux’s truest motivation is his desire to see his rival—the swaggering showboater who gets all the attention—humiliated as he has been, over and over and over.
In this twisted, petty moment, Hux allows us to live vicariously the fantasy of getting vengeance on that *sshole at work who is constantly making our lives more difficult. The cackles that sparked at my screening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker suggests I wasn’t alone in my delight of Hux revealing his pettiest self. Sure, we should strive to be the better person, to rise above and fight for our cause no matter the indignities we face along the way. But also, just imagine if you indulged this kind of petty vengeance against the a-hole in your office. Wouldn’t it be delicious? Wouldn’t you like to live deliciously and take a walk on the Dark Side?
It’s no secret I love a petty villain, one who is not just bad but hell-bent on bringing absolute ruin to any fool who crosses him. Here, Hux becomes that villain. And for a brief moment, I perked up thinking Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker might be sparking with such character moments and not become a slog of safe fan service. But alas, Hux’s moment of glory was short-lived. His minor battle damage didn’t fool sneering General Pryde (Richard E. Grant), who shoots Hux fatally in the chest. So ends a brief but thrilling thread of betrayal and with it the story of an entitled, wrathful fascist who was brought down by his own pettiness. Perhaps this should be a lesson to those of us watching about the consequences of pettiness. Perhaps it’s a sign of where this film series traded a fascinating foe for a bland baddie we wouldn’t feel remotely conflicted about seeing defeated. Perhaps challenging the Star Wars audience died with Hux.
We’ll miss that petty bitch.
Read Tori’s review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Header Image Source: Disney