Admiral Ackbar Was Initially Going To Appear In 'Rogue One', But J.J. Abrams Got To Him First

For the casual Star Wars viewer, Admiral Ackbar is a character who probably doesn't even register in the long term. More discerning fans will know him from his famous "It's a trap!" moment, which has since been meme'd to within an inch of its life. And even more hardcore fans love Ackbar so much that they've registered their fury online about the character's death in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (we'll get to that in a second).

Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) is credited as one of the writers of 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and he recently took to Twitter to reveal that Ackbar originally had a significant role to play in that prequel – if only J.J. Abrams hadn't have laid claim to Ackbar first.

Admiral Ackbar Rogue One Trivia

According to Whitta (who was one of the first writers hired to write Rogue One's screenplay), Ackbar was going to not only be in the movie, but "[lead] the orbital attack over Scarif" during the climax of the film. Unfortunately, "JJ had got to him first so he was replaced with Raddus." He's referring to the fact that J.J. Abrams, the director and co-writer of The Force Awakens, evidently grabbed that character out of the toy box first, and therefore, Ackbar couldn't be used in both movies.

You may be wondering why Ackbar couldn't have simply appeared in both films. Well, in a separate tweet, Whitta addressed that very topic, saying, "I think they didn't want to over-use him and instead introduce new characters." Remember, this was still early in Lucasfilm's experimentation phase with its new movies: Rogue One came out just a year after The Force Awakens but was set decades prior to it, resulting in some confusion from mainstream audiences about why Rey, Finn, and BB-8 weren't in Rogue One. Perhaps Lucasfilm decided to excise Ackbar from Rogue One in order to avoid further audience confusion.

As a result, the character of Admiral Raddus was created to fill Ackbar's place in the script. Raddus, another member of the Mon Calimari race, became a fan favorite in his own right and an important character in Star Wars lore – so important, in fact, that the primary ship in The Last Jedi was named after Raddus.

As for Admiral Ackbar's death in The Last Jedi, I know there's a huge contingent of people who feel like that character deserved more or that not concentrating on his death was disrespectful or something. I've always viewed Ackbar's death as one of the more grounded aspects of any Star Wars film, because it embodies the idea that not all heroes die heroic deaths or have pivotal roles to play in every mission. Sometimes, war just takes those you love. Not every single character's arc in a grand multi-movie saga is going to get a perfect hero's ending. But that's just my two cents. I'm sure my mentions will be inundated with people telling me why I'm wrong and why Admiral Ackbar is the greatest character in Star Wars history.