This post contains significant spoilers for The Last Jedi. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you might want to bookmark this and come back later...
The Holdo Manoeuvre. Many fans are suggesting the last-ditch attempt by Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo to save the Resistance, corrupts, or at least calls into question Star Wars lore. Let's start by discussing what exactly the Holdo Manoeuvre is. Spoilers follow.
So in The Last Jedi, The Resistance plan to secretly escape to the mineral planet of Crait, whilst the First Order pursue an empty (almost) Raddus, the command ship of the Resistance. The Resistance has learned that they cannot escape the First Order by jumping to hyperspace. Initially, they believe there is a mole in their number, leaking information to the enemy. As their fuel reserves are depleted a choice is made to launch escape craft with every surviving member of the Resistance and make use of an abandoned Rebel base. The First Order will be left pursuing a ghost ship.
At the last minute. as General Leia Organa is boarding one of the last escape ships, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, reveals to Leia that she plans to remain aboard the Raddus and lead the First Order away.
Meanwhile. aboard the Supremacy, DJ, a slicer recruited by Finn and Rose on Canto Bight, reveals the Resistance plan to General Hux and the First Order, leaving the Resistance escape pods vulnerable to the First Order heavy artillery. One by one the First Order destroy the escape craft, wiping out the remaining members of the Resistance.
In a last-ditch attempt to save the Resistance, Holdo turns to the Raddus and aims it at the Supremacy, and makes the jump to hyperspace. Holdo's sacrifice destroys the First Order ships and buys the Resistance the time it needs to make planetfall and fortify their position in the abandoned Rebel Base...
I have heard many people, fans and detractors alike, criticise the use of a hyperspace jump in this manner for corrupting Star Wars lore. The argument seems to be, if this was possible, why not use it more frequently in battle? Why not fly a cruiser through the Death Star in Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope? Why not fly a fighter through a Star Destroyer in Jedi? I thought it was necessary to outline why the Holdo Manoeuvre doesn't corrupt Star Wars lore, but it serves to underline one of The Last Jedi's principal tenants.
Let's start with why this does nothing to undermine Star Wars lore.
Star Wars has always been a story of good vs evil. Bad guys vs good guys. We recognise the good guys by their willingness to fight for what they believe in, even when the odds are set against them. Those tiny ships that fly toward the giant scary space station in A New Hope, those willing to go against the will of the council and launch an assault on Scarif (one lead by Admiral Raddus no less!), in Rogue One, the band of primitive teddy bears who face the might of an invading technologically superior force in Jedi. Its always been about the little guy, facing off against the giant. At no point do we here our heroes consider spilling their own blood for their cause. Heroes die for the Rebellion, but they are never sacrificed in its name. Flying craft into large structures, certainly in modern times, brings to mind images of terrorism. Destroying something through hate. That is not what our heroes, the Resistance or the Rebellion represent.
When Holdo decides to remain on the Raddus, her plan seems to be to pilot the ship as the First Order gives chase. The First Order is ultimately going to destroy the ship and anyone on board, the best Holdo can hope for is to be taken prisoner by the First Order and face Supreme Leader Snoke, Kylo Ren or General Hux as the seek information as to the whereabouts of the Resistance. It's only when she witnesses the destruction of the escape craft that Holdo is forced to improvise. As she turns the Raddus into the path of the Supremacy, Holdo does so to save a thing she loves, the Resistance. An organisation she has fought for and helped build, help lead in their struggle against tyranny. When she makes the jump to hyperspace, destroying the First Order ships, she isn't striking out at something she hates, she is dying for something she loves.
Holdo's sacrifice in The Last Jedi is a poetic and powerful moment. A moment that would be trivialised were to become de rigueur for the Resistance.
I think Rose said it best in The Last Jedi when she tells Finn -
The Holdo Manoeuvre underlines this point entirely, in my opinion. Holdo didn't give in to hate or flying through hThe Supremacy would have been her initial plan. Holdo chose to save what she loved, The Resistance, with the only weapon she had to hand, the Raddus.
To paraphrase another wonderful Star Wars heroine, a woman with a command ship and nothing left to lose can take the day. Holdo took the day, and in doing saved the spark that will ignite a Rebellion.
This doesn't undermine what came before in Star Wars. It doesn't betray anything we have come to know and love about our heroes. It builds on it, and does so in a beautiful and poignant way.
Thank you for reading,