Tim Rose is a Star Wars alumn most popularly known by his character “Admiral Ackbar.” He only had about a dozen lines throughout the franchise, but like the mostly mute Boba Fett, his character was celebrated and beloved by fans. Ackbar even became a famous meme immortalizing his most famous phrase: “IT’S A TRAP!”
The love of the fans, however, seemed to make him a prime target for disrespect by The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, who confessed to wanting to kill off the old parts of the Star Wars universe. It didn’t seem to matter how, either.
Ackbar unceremoniously died at the beginning of the movie after the ship’s helm was struck, blowing him out into space. He was then replaced with one of the worst characters ever conceived of in Star Wars history, Vice Admiral Holdo, who had no trouble competing in absurdity and annoyance with The Phantom Menace‘s Jar Jar Binks.
I go further into that atrocity in a different article: “JJ Abrams Claims Hate Over “The Last Jedi” Is Due To Fear Of Women (And Here’s Why He’s Gravely Mistaken”
No one was harder hit by that disappointment than Rose who waited 30 years to reprise his role, only to have it tossed into the garbage.
In an interview with Jamie Stangroom, Rose said that a more epic death scene was filmed but went unused. Stangroom asked Rose if he was disappointed in the way his legendary character was sent off.
“So in The Last Jedi, I was quite looking forward to maybe them giving him something more juicy,” Rose said. “We were only given the script on the day when we were shooting that piece of script, so each day I would come to work going, ‘Is today the day when Ackbar gets something a bit more involving?’ And I looked at my script and I went, ‘Oh, Ackbar’s going out of the window. Well, that’s that then!’ I wasn’t quite dead yet.”
After it was all said and done, Rose was asked to come back. He thought that perhaps the cast and crew were going to thank him for his time spent as a well-loved character in a time-honored series. Instead, they had him perform a menial task they thought would be funny.
Rose confessed that he was crying in his suit from being so let down after being given so much hope.
“We finished all of our bits and they asked me to come down to camera. And I thought, ‘Oh well, maybe they’re going to say thank you for being one of the heritage characters and giving 30 years and all that.’ But what they did was, they gave me a Millennium Falcon sign that had the day and the date on it, the scene number, and they said, ‘Can you look at the camera and say ‘It’s a wrap?’ Because that would be really funny.'”
“I was actually in tears in the suit because I thought – after everything, after hoping there’d be something, after knowing there wasn’t going to be anything else, Ackbar’s final moment before he went into the box was a big joke about ‘It’s a wrap.’ They just thought ‘Wouldn’t it be funny?’ And that was the sum total of my life as Ackbar.”
It’s heartbreaking to think that Ackbar’s legacy ends with tears of disappointment, all so that Johnson could introduce a modern political edge with Holdo who was meant to inspire a sense of girl power in the movies. In the end, Ackbar’s death meant nothing.
Perhaps that doesn’t sound like much to you, especially given Ackbar’s minor role, but for Rose, it was far more. He had been Ackbar for 30 years. It was one of his biggest points of pride, and it was taken away by a sub-par director with a political itch to scratch and a disregard for the fans that built and maintained the Star Wars sub-culture.