What we know concretely about Star Wars: The Force Awakens honestly isn’t much more than a collection of names. But now we have one more to add to our list, as we just learned the identity of Domhnall Gleeson’s character, and thanks to the Star Wars panel at San Diego Comic-Con, we’ve got our first look at him too.
Heads up, things may get slightly spoiler-y beyond this point. Not too bad, but you’ve been warned.
The rumors floating around for months have been that Gleeson plays a high ranking officer in The First Order, which is the new incarnation of the Empire. Or at least they’re the big, nasty faction that arose out of the chaos and infighting that followed the destruction of the second Death Star and the power vacuum after the death of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi. We now know that he is a character named General Hux and he is indeed a high ranking officer.
As you can see in this first picture, the First Order has definitely embraced their sinister tendencies. Hux looks grim and not particularly nice in his head-to-toe black get up. He may not be quite a mean looking as your average Sith lord, he's no Vader, but he looks none too friendly. You also get a nice glimpse of the villainous Kylo Ren, played by Adam Drive, and Captain Phasma, played by Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie, but we've seen them before.
We also learned a little bit about his character as well. According to what Gleeson said at the panel, Hux is evil, like full on evil (he jokes it’s because he British). We also learn that he is in command of a First Order base called Starkiller Base. For those of you super fans out there, you’ll know that Luke Skywalker was known as Luke Starkiller in the original Star Wars script, which is a nice nod to the franchise history.
From what we see here, it certainly looks like General Hux is the big man in charge. Perhaps it is only in his specific corner of this far, far away galaxy, but he definitely exudes authority. You could easily see him filling a kind of Palpatine role in the narrative, where maybe characters like Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma are the ones out there physically battling the heroes, but he’s the one pulling the strings behind the curtain. Or it's possible that he's kind of like a new school Moff, kind of the middle management of the First Order and is at the mercy of Kylo Ren like Grand Moff Tarkin was to Darth Vader.
The fact that General Hux is in charge of a base with the ominous name Starkiller brings to mind earlier rumors we’ve heard that the Empire, or at least this new incarnation of it, is working on a new super weapon, a device so destructive that it puts the Death Stars to shame. That would certainly be something worth of the moniker Starkiller. We’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out, but it sounds like an ominous possibility. If nothing else, it gives us much more to consider while we count down the days until this movie finally arrives..
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters everywhere on December 18, 2015. We can't wait.