Longtime Admiral Ackbar voice actor Tom Kane, who most recently voiced the character in 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, admits he’s “not really thrilled” with Ackbar’s unceremonious death and argues the esteemed Rebel leader should have won the heroic sacrifice that ultimately went to Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern).
“I’ve been Ackbar for about six years… and I was not really thrilled about how they blew him out the side of the ship,” Kane told The Star Wars Show Live! at Star Wars Celebration Chicago.
“I’m like, ‘Who is this Holdo woman? Nobody knows her, no one’s invested in her — who is she? Why is she saving the fleet?’ If anyone was gonna save the fleet it’d be Ackbar [laughs].”
Ackbar ultimately perishes when the Raddus is assaulted and its bridge exploded by TIE fighters — an attack that leaves Resistance general Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) near death and in a coma.
Holdo, who was introduced in The Last Jedi, later devastated the overpowering First Order fleet when she rammed the Raddus into the Supremacy at lightspeed.
Though Ackbar dies with little fanfare in the Rian Johnson-directed and scripted blockbuster — and only briefly acknowledged later by Commander Larma D’Acy (Amanda Lawrence) — his death was expanded upon by Gary Whitta in the pages of comic book adaptation Star Wars: The Last Jedi #2, which sends Ackbar off with fitting last words: “It’s been an honor serving with you all.”
In conversation with the Huffington Post in January 2018, Last Jedi editor Bob Ducsay confessed to having second thoughts about the underplayed death, explaining the muted reaction was “how it was designed.”
“It’s interesting that you mentioned it, because I watched the film last night and I thought, hmmm, maybe that’s too incidental,” Ducsay said.
“It’s a very funny thing about that because what happens … I don’t typically watch movies that I work on much afterwards, because you’re so familiar with it. But this movie I’ve seen now a couple times with an audience. And it occurred to me last night that what does happen when I watch movies … is I generally find things that are like, hmmm, I wonder if I should do that differently. Which is some really horrible form of personal criticism because there’s really nothing to be done.”
“That’s how it was designed,” Ducsay added. “That’s how it was intended. But it is slightly incidental, isn’t it?”
Disney-Lucasfilm next releases J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker December 20.