- "Let's at least remind them that we're still here. They won't last long burning fuel like this."
- ―Armitage Hux
In 34 ABY, the First Order attacked the Resistance in the Oetchi system, intent on destroying the insurgents that opposed their conquest of the galaxy. Owing to technological innovations pioneered by General Armitage Hux, the First Order military had the ability to track the Resistance fleet through hyperspace. Possessing enough fuel for only one more jump to lightspeed, the Resistance searched for another way to escape from the First Order.
Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo took charge of the Resistance after an attack on the command ship Raddus incapacitated General Leia Organa. While Holdo planned to sacrifice the Resistance's starships in order to hide the survivors on Crait, Captain Poe Dameron took matters into his own hands by devising a plan to save the fleet. Finn and Rose Tico therefore traveled to Canto Bight on Cantonica, intent on recruiting the Master Codebreaker so that they could disable the First Order's active tracker. They were instead joined by DJ, a slicer who agreed to work for the Resistance in exchange for compensation.
Meanwhile, Rey boarded the Supremacy, flagship of the First Order Navy, and was taken prisoner by her rival Kylo Ren. Following her short and unconventional training under Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, Rey left the planet Ahch-To intent on confronting Ren in person. The bond between them in the Force had shown Rey that there was still light within the former Ben Solo, leading her to believe that the dark warrior was in fact the key to defeating the First Order.
Finn and Tico also made it to the dreadnought with DJ's assistance. However, they were caught and apprehended by Captain Phasma's stormtroopers, leading the slicer to betray his allies in order to save himself. Dameron, whose conflict with Holdo came to a head, staged a mutiny and took control of Raddus. Although he secured control of the bridge, Organa regained consciousness and subdued the Resistance pilot, thus ending the insurrection.
By then, Kylo Ren had taken Rey directly to his dark side master, Supreme Leader Snoke, who tortured and interrogated Rey in order to learn the location of Skywalker's hermitage. Having gained the knowledge he sought, Snoke ordered Ren to execute Rey, but Ren instead saved her by killing his master. They stood together as allies against the late Snoke's Elite Praetorian Guards, all of whom fell in battle against the two Force warriors. When Rey beseeched Ren to call off the First Order's attack on the Resistance, Ren revealed he had no intention of saving his mother's insurgents and invited Rey to rule the galaxy at his side. Disillusioned, Rey rejected Ren's entreaty and decided to save the Resistance on her own.
After the crew of the Raddus embarked to the Crait outpost via several transports, Holdo sacrificed her life by piloting the MC85 Star Cruiser directly through the Supremacy at lightspeed, cutting the Star Dreadnought in half. In the ensuing chaos, Kylo Ren stepped forth to claim his fallen master's throne, although he had to intimidate General Armitage Hux into recognizing his ascension as the new Supreme Leader of the First Order. After Ren secured Hux's allegiance, they personally oversaw the First Order army's deployment to Crait. Vowing to forge a new galactic order, Ren invaded Crait with the intention of ending the war once and for all. As such, he instructed his army to give no quarter nor take any prisoners.
- "They can't get away, Supreme Leader. We have them tied on the end of a string."
- ―Armitage Hux, to Snoke
In the aftermath of the destruction of Starkiller Base, the forces of the First Order attacked the Resistance base on D'Qar. Having failed to annihilate the planet before the superweapon was destroyed, the First Order Navy deployed a fleet of Resurgent-class Star Destroyers along with the Mandator IV-class Siege Dreadnought Fulminatrix. While the Resistance evacuated their headquarters, Commander Poe Dameron engaged the dreadnought alone, using his T-70 X-wing starfighter to clear the surface turrets before ordering a bombing run. Though his plan succeeded in destroying the warship, the Resistance fleet sustained heavy losses before escaping into hyperspace. Dameron was consequently demoted to the rank of Captain by General Leia Organa, who reprimanded the pilot for his actions and insubordination.
General Armitage Hux was likewise admonished by his superior, Supreme Leader Snoke, who telekinetically assaulted the First Order officer by way of the Force. In an effort to assuage the Supreme Leader's anger, Hux revealed that the First Order had developed the hyperspace tracker, a technological breakthrough that would allow their forces to track the Resistance's movement through hyperspace and determine their likeliest destination. Snoke was pleased with his general's plan, though less so with his apprentice, the dark warrior Kylo Ren, who returned to his master shortly after the loss of Starkiller Base. Where he once considered Ren the natural heir of his legendary grandfather, the Sith Lord Darth Vader, Snoke berated Ren for failing to defeat Rey, a girl with no prior experience in lightsaber combat. In losing his master's favor, Ren flew into a rage and destroyed his combat helmet, and then instructed his subordinates to prepare his personal starfighter.
Chasing the Resistance fleet
- "They tracked us through lightspeed."
"Yes. And they've done it."
- ―Leia Organa and Finn
Upon entering the Oetchi system via hyperspace, the Resistance immediately set to work on locating a suitable new base when they were set upon by a fleet of First Order Star Destroyers. Comprising thirty Resurgent-class vessels and the Supreme Leader's flagship, the Mega-class Star Dreadnought Supremacy, the First Order fleet destroyed the Vakbeor-class cargo frigate Vigil, before it could activate its deflector shields. Though the means were unknown to them at the time, the Resistance deduced that the First Order had discovered a way to track ships through hyperspace, making another jump to lightspeed futile as well as a waste of fuel. Despite demotion from Wing Commander, Dameron volunteered to lead a counterattack in order to defend the Resistance command ship, the MC85 Star Cruiser Raddus. At the same time, Organa instructed the remaining ships in her fleet to strengthen their rear shields and move out of the First Order's range.
Before the Resistance pilots could scramble their starfighters, the Raddus' hangar was destroyed by a torpedo fired from Kylo Ren's TIE/vn space superiority fighter. Several pilots died in the attack, including Tallissan Lintra, although Dameron narrowly survived. Following his successful assault on the hangar, Ren had an opportunity to destroy the bridge of the command ship but found himself unable to open fire on his mother, General Organa. However, a member of Kylo Ren's personal squadron, Lieutenant Poldin LeHuse, held nothing back and landed a direct hit on the bridge, desiring to make the Resistance suffer for the destruction of Starkiller Base. The attack obliterated the Resistance High Command, killing Admiral Gial Ackbar and other Resistance officers with the exception of Organa, who called upon the Force to survive the vacuum of space and return to the Raddus. General Hux insisted that Ren return to the Supremacy, which could no longer protect his squadron due to the distance between the First Order and the Resistance ships. Although Ren complied, his squadmates were shot down by the Free Virgillia-class Bunkerbuster Ninka.
With Organa incapacitated and the other high-ranking officers killed in the attack, command of the Resistance defaulted to Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, whose brusque manner and insistence on secrecy led her into conflict with Dameron. Shut out from the Admiral's plans, Dameron devised his own plan to save the fleet with the help of Resistance technician Rose Tico and the renegade stormtrooper Finn. Using the information that Finn acquired from his past service aboard the Supremacy, the trio intended to disable the hyperspace tracker so that the Resistance could jump to lightspeed without fear of being tracked. Their plan required the service of a Master Codebreaker, and as such, they contacted Maz Kanata, who pointed them to the casino city of Canto Bight on Cantonica. Time was of the essence, however, as the Resistance fleet was running dangerously low on their fuel supply.
The three remaining Resistance ships continued to outrun the larger First Order vessels, their speed and strong shields able to keep them just out of range enough for the Supremacy's turbolasers to be ineffective. However, their fuel reserves were dangerously low, and one by one, the other ships ran out of fuel and were immediately destroyed once they had drifted into range of the enemy. The Nebulon-C escort frigate, Anodyne which was also their medical frigate, was the first to run dry and was shortly followed by Holdo's former ship, the Ninka.
Even though, both their crews successfully managed to evacuate their doomed craft before their destruction. This left the Raddus as the sole cruiser left in the fleet, carrying what now amounted to the entire Resistance. Vice Admiral Holdo revealed her plan to evacuate the Resistance on to small transports. Believing the action to be too risky and foolish, Dameron incited a mutiny and had the leadership held at gunpoint by at least three Resistance members as he went to contact Finn and Tico. The two had found a codebreaker named DJ who successfully got them onto the Supremacy.
Infiltrating the Supremacy
- "FN-2187. So good to have you back."
- ―Phasma, to Finn
Meanwhile, Finn, Tico, DJ, and BB-8 infiltrated the Supremacy and got into the room where they could disable the tracker. However, a First Order astromech droid, BB-9E, had found the group out earlier and called in reinforcements, causing them to be confronted by Captain Phasma and her troops. However, after being caught by Phasma's troops, DJ told the First Order the Resistance's plan, which he had overheard Finn and Tico mention, in exchange for money.
Finn and Tico were about to be executed by the First Order when the sudden destruction of the Supremacy sent everyone into chaos. The duo freed themselves and attempted to make for a nearby shuttle, only for Phasma and her stormtroopers to emerge from the flames and begin firing on them. Suddenly, an AT-ST started firing on Phasma and her troops, soon revealed to be piloted by BB-8. In the chaos, Finn engaged Phasma with a Z6 riot control baton, and was initially overpowered, but he eventually managed to hit Phasma in a surprise attack before she fell into a fiery pit to her death. Finn, Tico and BB-8 then hijacked a shuttle and escaped the remains of the Supremacy, heading toward the Resistance base on Crait.
Mutiny on the Raddus
- "Vice Admiral Holdo, I am relieving you of your command for the survival of this ship, its crew and the Resistance."
- ―Poe Dameron, to Amilyn Holdo
Aboard the Raddus, Holdo fought back against Dameron's mutiny as she and her allies stunned his allies. As Dameron heard about the capture, General Organa broke into the room he locked himself in and stunned him, returning him to Holdo as the Resistance fighters prepared to evacuate the Raddus. Holdo decided to stay onboard to confront the First Order in an act of self-sacrifice, and when Dameron came to, Organa revealed that they were nearing an old rebel base on the planet Crait and that Holdo had devised the plan because she knew that the First Order would be less likely to spot their smaller escape ships.
Having learned of the Resistance's plan from DJ, the First Order fired the Supremacy's turbolasers batteries at the unprotected escape vessels, destroying all but six of them. They saw that the Raddus was preparing to jump to hyperspace, but believed the cruiser was deserting the Resistance. Once he realized the ship was turning towards the Supremacy, a frantic General Hux ordered to fire all cannons on the Raddus, but it was too late. Holdo jumped into hyperspace, shearing the massive ship in half and completely destroying twenty other Star Destroyers on escort duty or being repaired on one of the lower hangars.
Duel on the Supremacy
- "Ben. When we touched hands, I saw your future. Just the shape of it, but solid and clear. You will not bow before Snoke. You'll turn. I'll help you."
- ―Rey, to Ben Solo
While the First Order pursued the Resistance fleet, Rey and Kylo Ren discovered that they shared a powerful Force-bond with each other. Their connection was raw and unprecedented; it not only made it easier to sense the other's thoughts and emotions, but also allowed them to see and hear each other across a distance spanning light-years. The bond, which both Ren and Rey became aware of to an extent upon their first encounter, was manipulated by Snoke, who bridged the minds of his apprentice and the scavenger from Jakku, knowing that Rey would be drawn to the conflict within Ren. At the time neither Ren nor Rey were aware of Snoke's machinations, and the animosity Rey felt towards the dark apprentice gradually gave way to a new understanding as their bond granted her insights into Ren that not even her reluctant mentor, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, could see. Sensing that their destinies were somehow entangled, Rey confided her fears and sadness to Ren, having sensed that he also suffered from feelings of solitude and abandonment. But they assured each other that neither of them was alone, and through their bond, discovered that they could physically touch hands across the stars. In that moment, Rey was convinced that good still existed within the former Ben Solo, and as such she regarded him as the galaxy's last hope.
When Skywalker refused to end his exile on Ahch-To, Rey sought out Ren on her own, hoping he would renounce the dark side and embrace the light with her help. Although Ren exulted at the way that Rey left Skywalker to join him aboard the Supremacy, he brought her to the Supreme Leader who wished to interrogate the prisoner himself. As they made their way to Snoke's throne room, Rey implored Ren to abandon his journey down the dark path, having sensed Ren's conflict and how it caused him so much pain. Her confidence was further bolstered by the Force vision she experienced during their last connection, explaining that when they touched hands she saw a future where Ren no longer bowed before Snoke. However, Ren also had a vision of his own, one where he saw Rey standing by his side.
Rey's confrontation with Snoke led to her brutal interrogation by way of the Supreme Leader's Force powers, and as a result the location of Luke Skywalker's hermitage was successfully probed from her mind. Snoke, who intended to kill the last Jedi after dealing with the more immediate threat of the Resistance, held Rey in stasis and commanded Ren to kill her, exclaiming that this act would be the fulfillment of his dark destiny. Ren's emotions were even further churned up by the bond between himself and Rey, but his newfound resolve and clarity reassured Snoke that his oft-conflicted apprentice would not give into sentiment again. In the end, Snoke's visions and Force senses failed him for he did not see his end at the hands of his own disciple. Through guile and subterfuge, Ren cleaved Snoke in half with Rey's lightsaber, ending his master's life in an act worthy of the Sith Rule of Two.
With the death of their Supreme Leader, the Elite Praetorian Guard encircled and engaged the two Force-sensitives, attempting to avenge their slain master. Kylo Ren and Rey drew their lightsabers and stood together as allies against the crimson armored sentinels. Despite the Guard's efforts, all eight were killed in battle. But while Ren had indeed turned against Snoke, killing the Supreme Leader in order to save Rey, the now former apprentice had no intention of turning from the darkness. As Rey beseeched him to call off the First Order's attack on the remaining Resistance transports, Ren saw a chance to fulfill what he believed was his birthright: ruling over the weaker beings of the galaxy.
Once more, Rey implored him to resist the temptations of the dark side, hoping to reach the side of Kylo Ren that was still Ben Solo. Believing that Rey was still clinging to the past, Ren revealed to her the full truth of the vision he saw when they touched hands, that Rey was in fact the daughter of insignificant junk dealers who sold her into child labor before dying in the desert of Jakku. He suspected that in her heart Rey already knew the truth but had suppressed the memory of her abandonment. Rey desperately tried to block out Ren's words, but she could sense that there was no deception in his intentions, and that he really was telling her the truth, causing tears to fall from her eyes as she slowly came to terms with her origins. Yet even though Rey came from a family of no background, she was not irrelevant to the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa, for Ren now envisioned them ruling together over a new galactic order. However, Rey chose to turn her back on Ren, disillusioned by his choice to remain in darkness. As a result, they struggled for control over the fabled Skywalker lightsaber that Rey had claimed as her own, causing it to split in two which rendered Ren unconscious.
Rey was initially tempted to end Ren's life while he was unconscious and defenseless, just as Skywalker had been on the night his temple burned down. She ultimately rejected the idea, having found her faith in the Force and now believing herself and Ren to be instruments of its will. Though still disappointed that her vision had not come to pass as she saw it, Rey did not believe it was her place to decide Ren's fate. For better or worse, it was the will of the Force that he continued to live, and therefore Rey left him alive and escaped from the Supremacy using Snoke's private shuttle.
- "Get all our forces down to that Resistance base. Let's finish this."
- ―Kylo Ren, to Armitage Hux
General Hux hurried to Snoke's throne room following Holdo's attack on the Supremacy, only to find the Supreme Leader's bisected remains along with the corpses of his Praetorian Guards. He also found Kylo Ren alive but unconscious, and considered ridding himself of his rival once and for all. But Ren had awakened before the general could carry out the deed, forcing Hux to conceal his sidearm. When asked about what had transpired in the throne room, Ren lied to Hux by telling him that Rey was the one who killed Snoke. Hux likewise informed Ren that the girl had already left the Supremacy, yet Ren was unconcerned with her whereabouts, knowing she would travel to the Crait outpost in an attempt to save the Resistance. He ordered Hux to deploy their military forces to the planet, determined to bring a decisive end to the war, to which Hux scoffed at Ren, neither willing to recognize Ren's authority nor surrender command of the army to him.
Hux's indignation towards Ren gave way to fear when he suddenly found himself struggling to breathe. The dark warrior had begun choking the general by way of the Force, threatening to asphyxiate Hux unless he accepted his place in the new order of things. As a result, Ren successfully claimed the mantle of Supreme Leader, having compelled Hux to recognize his claim as Snoke's successor. With that, the general complied with the new Supreme Leader's orders, although Ren decided to keep Hux at his side in order to discourage any treacherous actions during their assault on Crait.
Members of the First Order not present of the battle were not immediately aware of what had happened, believing that the Resistance had been completely destroyed during the evacuation of D'Qar and that Snoke remained the Supreme Leader. Such was the case of Colonel Barrut, who was informed by Dameron of the Resistance's survival and the change of Supreme Leader during the Battle of Grail City, yet Barrut insisted to her men that Dameron was lying.
Behind the scenes
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places the events of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens in 34 ABY. Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi takes place immediately after the end of The Force Awakens.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: A Junior Novel
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Incredible Cross-Sections
- Poe Dameron 31
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition
- Star Wars: The Dark Side
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire