SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi Adaptation #2 by Gary Whitta, Michael Walsh, Mike Spicer and Travis Lanham, on sale now.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is undeniably the franchise's most divisive film to date, really upsetting loyalists who didn't embrace writer/director Rian Johnson’s willingness to break away from the shackles and narratives of old.
From the movie doing away with mysteries J.J. Abrams set up in The Force Awakens (such as Rey's heritage and Snoke's origin), to reimagining the concept of the Force, to Johnson portraying Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker as a disenfranchised Jedi, well -- lots of fans had a lot of issues with the film.
However, in Marvel’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi Adaptation #2, attempts are being made to add content and context the movie lacked, acting as deleted scenes but via the comic book medium. This inserts key moments we missed in the film, such as Luke Skywalker mourning Han Solo. Now, we have a new sequence detailing the final moments of rebel legend Admiral Acbkar.
This issue sticks pretty much to the beat of the movie, but with a deep cut via this extra Acbkar scene. Here, writer Gary Whitta stretches out a sequence which wasn't done justice on-screen, slowing things down to add emotional weight.
Just like the film, the Resistance, led by General Leia Organa is on the run after leaving the D'Qar base. Surprisingly, the First Order tracked them through hyperspace, with Kylo Ren joining his TIE fighters to attack his mother's flagship, the Raddus. As the firefight ensues, Ackbar, a genius military tactician, is right alongside Leia, trying to co-ordinate counter-attacks and an escape plan. Sadly, they're low on fuel and can't jump to warp speed, which leaves the fleet as sitting ducks.
Kylo's squadron swoops in, firing torpedoes at the Raddus, and taking out the hangar where Poe Dameron and BB-8 are, almost killing them. As Kylo then uses the Force to sense Leia, and vice versa, he holds his fingers over his trigger, reluctant to pull it as he may still love his mother. As Leia tries to connect with her fallen son, we see Acbkar in the background, scrambling for a solution.
"All craft, full ahead! Concentrate rear shields!" he yells, as per the movie.
But Kylo's fighters capitalize on his hesitance, launching two torpedoes at Leia's section.
In the film, this happened in the blink of an eye, leaving the bridge blown up, some Resistance members (like Ackbar) incinerated, and some (like Leia) sucked into the cold fringes of outer space. Fans were sorely disappointed how throwaway Ackbar's death felt, especially as it was just acknowledged in one line later on to Admiral Holdo when counting casualties of the assault.
But in the comic, Walsh takes his time and builds to the point where the torpedoes actually hit. The book goes from Poe and BB-8 almost getting blown up trying to reach an X-Wing, to Ackbar and Leia rallying the troops. At this juncture, we get what's basically additional footage of Ackbar's unit before the torpedoes hit.
"Torpedoes inbound!" one tells him, resigned to their fate. Ackbar, a man of few but always crucial words, shows his class and more so, his loyalty, to the Rebel Alliance by simply remarking, "It's been an honor serving with you all."
It's a mark of respect to his fellow soldiers and also, illustrates true leadership. The wide-eyed Ackbar is clearly proud to be in such brave company, fighting for the freedom of the galaxy. The torpedoes then hit, killing everyone except Leia who uses the Force to return to the Raddus, barely clinging to life.
As we all know, she survives, but there's no coming back for Ackbar and his crew. So, while his handling on screen was a shame, the fan-favorite character, evidenced by the pop-culture impact of his "It's a trap!" line, gets to go out on a somewhat better note in this instance, hopefully satisfying fans who wanted more for the character.