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B-List Bonanza: Amilyn Holdo

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S.W. Sondheimer

Staff Writer

When not prying Legos and gaming dice out of her feet, S.W. Sondheimer is a registered nurse at the Department of Therapeutic Misadventures, a herder of genetic descendants, cosplayer, and a fiction and (someday) comics writer. She is a Yinzer by way of New England and Oregon and lives in the glorious 'Burgh with her husband, 2 smaller people, 2 cats, a fish, and a snail. She occasionally tries to grow plants, drinks double-caffeine coffee, and has a habit of rooting for the underdog. It is possible she has a book/comic book problem but has no intention of doing anything about either. Twitter: @SWSondheimer

You may love her (I do). You may hate her. Either way, if you saw The Last Jedi, you likely remember Amilyn Holdo as the Vice Admiral who took over the Resistance fleet when Leia was injured in the First Order attack. The pink haired goddess who told Poe to keep it in his pants when he, yet again, decided that best way to solve the problem was to jump in an X-Wing and blow stuff up, despite that very thing not having worked so well on the previous occasion.

The brave soul who made certain the Resistance was going to live to see another day.

You may have gotten the impression that Amilyn and Leia had more history together than was shown on screen, and you’d be right; as we find out in Leia, Princess of Alderaan, they’ve known each other for decades. One of the joys in reading the Leia, Princess of Alderaan manga adaptation is that we get to see their first meeting and watch their friendship grow as they navigate life and join the Rebellion together — especially since once we get into movie territory, Leia has very little opportunity to enjoy female friendship.

When Leia first meets Amilyn during their pathfinding class, she thinks the girl from Gatalenta is “…a little odd.” Her father warns her not to judge people too quickly and, in fact, when one of their other teammates is hurt, Amilyn is one of only two other people who stays behind with Leia to help her, more concerned for the safety of another than with her own success.

Though she puts on a flighty persona, which she augments by wearing fanciful clothing and changing her hair color on a whim, Amilyn serves in the apprentice Senate with Leia and Kier Domadi, where she quickly establishes her reputation as a brilliant tactical thinker. Although her professed interest in star charts and astrology, her penchant for singing at strange times, and her focus on getting herself into trouble were in direct opposition to Gatalenta’s cultural norms, she did share her people’s core values: the importance of love, joy, and spiritual harmony. Amilyn was deeply spiritual herself, showing great interest in Gatalenta’s “esoteric practices.”

Also, she hated shoes, which…can’t blame her, same.

She and Leia become close friends, close enough that Amilyn figures out Leia is involved with the Rebellion without Leia ever having to say a word. Inspired by her friend’s need to help others, Amilyn starts going on missions with Leia, including the fateful journey to Crait where the girls warn the Rebels there of an impending Imperial attack. Amilyn remains with the Rebellion until the New Republic was established, earning the rank of Captain.

When the First Order rises to prominence, Holdo immediately joins the Resistance at the rank of Vice Admiral to support Leia. She and her crew on the Ninka help destroy Starkiller Base and then go on an intelligence gathering mission. Upon her return, she takes command of the fleet while Leia is incapacitated, ordering the evacuation of command ship and then using it to ram the First Order’s Dreadnought at light speed in an ultimately successful bid to buy time for the others to escape; this would eventually became known as the “Holdo Maneuver” in honor of her sacrifice.

The fact that Holdo is respected, even by those who don’t particularly like her, is Saying Something. Like and respect are often difficult to separate from each other and it takes a fair bit of effort to do so. For someone to be so good at what they do, and so dedicated to their cause, that colleagues and subordinates would make that effort speaks extremely highly of the person in question. That Amilyn is Leia’s contingency plan, and someone Leia counts as a friend, reaffirms that faith. The General has loved and lost a great many people in her life and I can’t see her risking her heart for anyone who isn’t remarkable.

Star Wars holds such a wealth of side characters, I could probably do months, or even years, of B-List posts on the galaxy alone. Who’s going to pop up next time? Someone else from the Resistance? Or shall we go in another direction entirely? There is another A:TLA book out soon. And of course, all this manga under my desk…So many places to go, so many comics to read, so many new friends and enemies to make…