One of the most powerful new villains in Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker has been revealed, and just like many of us predicted, he’s being played by Richard E. Grant. Here’s everything we know about the new villain, and no, he’s not Admiral Thrawn.
Vanity Fair revealed a massive amount of information and photos from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in a Wednesday morning cover story. Among a series of photos, including an epic shot of Kylo Ren and Rey’s rematch and the official reveal of Keri Russell’s roguish Zorri Bliss, is a photo of Richard E. Grant seated in-character as a high-ranking official in the First Order. He looks like General Hux’s boss.
“First Order leaders General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Allegiant General Pryde (Richard E. Grant) on the bridge of Kylo Ren’s destroyer,” the caption reads.
Pryde’s outfit is similar to Hux’s with its dark tones, but it’s more robe-like, implying a certain kind of wisdom and superiority. His air of authority and “Allegiant” rank probably mean he holds the most power in all of the First Order, second only to Supreme Leader Kylo Ren.
Joanna Robinson, who wrote the Vanity Fair cover story, noted Hux and Pryde’s “matching evil cheekbones” in the above tweet. It’s rather easy to see the resemblance, but before anybody assumes that Pryde is Hux’s father, that unfortunate duty went to Brendol Hux an Imperial officer who helped create the First Order after the Empire’s final defeat in the Battle of Jakku. The far more likely explanation is that visually, Pryde will continue the Star Wars legacy of villainous high cheekbones previously established by Imperial officers like Grand Moff Tarkin.
Richard E. Grant’s casting in Episode IX was originally announced in July 2018, long before the last entry in the Skywalker saga even had a formal title. Almost immediately, fans speculated that he’d make a perfect and age-appropriate Admiral Thrawn, the blue Imperial officer prominently featured in Star Wars Rebels. But Grant denied such speculation in an August interview with Radio Times. Even then, most of us still assumed that he’d play a villain, which has now obviously been confirmed.
This new photo also confirms leaked concept art from February showing Grant as a First Order officer. Another implication here has ties to a huge plot leak from September 2018 indicating that General Hux will betray the First Order and act as an informant for the Resistance. Why would this matter and what would it have to do with Allegiant General Pryde?
Hux betraying Kylo Ren and turning his back on the First Order actually makes a lot of sense. In the last two movies, he’s been portrayed as a hot-headed fool competing with Kylo Ren for Snoke’s approval. In The Last Jedi, he was immediately skeptical of letting Kylo Ren assume complete control over the First Order, especially because Kylo had just killed Snoke outright. Hux followed orders in the final battle because he didn’t know what else to do, but gradually and subtly betraying Kylo Ren as a spy leading into The Rise of Skywalker is consistent with his behavior.
That’s where Allegiant General Pryde comes in. From a narrative standpoint, General Hux being outed as a spy means that we need at least one more major player in the First Order. As Pryde assumes more control and power, assisting Kylo Ren in dominating the galaxy, Hux might be outed and maybe even killed. We need Pryde to fill a power vacuum.
As for Pryde’s real demeanor, intentions, and ambitions, we’ll have to wait and see.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released in theaters December 20, 2019.