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Did he, or didn’t her? This has been the debate (somewhat heated, though not terribly) surrounding the supposed death of beloved and significant Rebel alliance pilot Nien Nunb after his ship exploded in the final battle of J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Now, however, we have confirmation that Nien Nunb did die during the final assault against Palpatine and his Sith forces. RIP, Mssr. Nunb.
Rae Carson replies to a Twitter post mourning the death of Nien Nunb in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and she would know for certain. Carson is an American fantasy writer who broke onto the scene with her debut novel, 2011’s The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Recently, she has dedicated her prose to official Star Wars books, including 2018’s Star Wars: Most Wanted, and The Red One: Star Wars from a Certain Point of View. Later this year, her Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Expanded Edition will publish, filling in gaps through an official novelization of the story seen on screen.
So yeah, she’s know for sure whether Nien Nunb survived the final battle, and it sounds like he didn’t.
Now, the outrage. This is Star Wars, after all. Some fans have to be angry about something. And in this case, it’s the fact that Nien Nunb theoretically died off screen, and didn’t get a proper farewell. It’s being compared to the death of Admiral Ackbar without giving him a real reason, plotwise, why he had to die. Someone even used the hashtag #NienNumbDeservedBetter.
And in a way, that’s not so far fetched. Since first appearing in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi as co-pilot for the Millennium Falcon alongside Lando (Billy Dee Williams), Nien Nunb has shown up in all three of the new trilogy films, even battling in the significant Battle of Crait. He’s not exactly a Han or Luke. But he’s not an insignificant side character, either.
Those who gripe about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker point to plot issues like this, which theoretically were sacrificed to the God of Pacing. No matter what you think about the movie overall, Rise of Skywalker moves like a freight train, and rarely stops long enough to explain stuff. If that means that a fan-favorite like Nien Nunb gets retired in a quick moment during a pivotal battle, so be it.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker continues to entertain audiences at nearby theaters. How many times have you seen it?