Warning: Massive Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is full of memorable moments, both loved and hated. Most of the characters in the film get something of a signature scene that says a lot about who they are. Largely an afterthought in the film, Domhnall Gleeson's General Armitage Hux even gets one really fun moment that serves to remind the audience of who this guy is, and it turns out that the actor himself played a huge part in making it happen.
The moment comes towards the latter half of the film, during a scene aboard Supreme Leader Snoke's ship, the Supremacy. General Armitage Hux has just entered the throne room to find a chaotic and dismaying sight. Snoke has been killed, his Praetorian guards defeated. Kylo Ren lies unconscious on the floor following his emotional battle of will with Rey that resulted in the explosion of Anakin Skywalker's fabled lightsaber. During this interregnum, with his leader dead and greatest rival exposed and vulnerable, General Hux sees an opportunity to seize control of the First Order for himself and reaches for a weapon in his greatcoat. But before he can finish the job, Kylo awakens and arises the new Supreme Leader. This was a moment that Domhnall Gleeson felt was necessary for his character, as he explained:
That was the one moment I asked Rian for in the movie, yeah. I asked him for a moment that would do something like that. Because, General Hux is like a kicked dog for the whole movie, he just keeps on getting thrown into stuff, bullied. I was like, I wouldn't like people to forget that he's also a really nasty piece of work and could have an effect on the way things move forward. We talked a bit about where the right place would be and we came up with that.
This moment elicited laughs from the audience, but hearing Domhnall Gleeson's comments on The IMDb Studio at Sundance, I can totally see his reasoning for wanting Hux to have a moment like that. It shows that Hux is always a threat and has no qualms about killing a defenseless opponent. Hux is something of a punching bag in the new Star Wars trilogy, a sniveling underling and vehement zealot, the First Order officer is often made to look the fool by friend and foe alike. Star Wars: The Last Jedi starts off with Poe Dameron tricking Hux before destroying a dreadnought. Unlike Vader who respected Grand Moff Tarkin, Hux is protected from Kylo Ren's wrath thanks only to Snoke, who finds him useful. So it would be easy for the audience to begin to, if not feel bad for, at least view Hux as less than pure evil and simply someone trying to survive while surrounded by sharks.
The fact that Rian Johnson is open and listens to his actor's concerns about their characters is the mark of a good director. It is cool that he was willing to listen to Domhnall Gleeson's thoughts and work with him to come up with a way to position Hux as someone to still be feared going forward. This moment was fun because we got to laugh at the cowardice of Hux, but it also served to remind the audience that this is a genuinely ruthless, cunning and evil man who is second in command to the most powerful and tyrannical force in the galaxy. You can still catch Star Wars: The Last Jedi in theaters, now.