The Force presents itself in the Star Wars films in all shapes and sizes, and while it looms large in The Last Jedi with Rey, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Snoke, and Kylo Ren, they’re far from the only characters who had a connection to it.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Laura Dern revealed more aspects of Amilyn Holdo’s backstory, something she had discussed with Rian Johnson, producer Ram Bergman, and Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy while shooting the film. Some of Holdo’s characterization and backstory is shown in supplemental material like the novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan and The Last Jedi novelization, but the film can only capture so much of it on-screen. Dern compares her to a hippie, but she noted that Holdo “also had this otherworldly side that does involve the Force” that she and the filmmakers made a point to include in the movie.
“There’s something about her that longs to protect [the Force] and holds that with great care,” Dern explained. “There’s a sort of a light on and a wisdom that she speaks about in the film, and speaks to Oscar Isaac’s character briefly about it.”
As Luke told Rey during one of his lessons in The Last Jedi, the Jedi doesn’t have a monopoly on the Force, and it’s always existed around everyone in the universe and will continue to exist long after the Jedi. But it also manifests in different ways with different people, so for many of them it’s more about being able to properly wield a lightsaber or as Rey initially believes, lifting rocks. Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens is a good example of this, someone who has a special connection with the Force but never became a Force user. Rogue One’s Chirrut Îmwe, who was part of the Guardians of the Whills, was also able to tap into the Force to guide him even as blasters fired in every direction. Even Leia, who had the potential to become a Jedi like her brother, could reach out and use it to gain favor, get a sense of crew morale, and in dire times if she desired.
With Holdo, it may have been a similar kind of feeling. She and Leia have been through the ringer together for years, spanning all the way back to the last years of the Galactic Empire. Her oddity was striking to Leia, but Holdo could sense—even if it was only a reading of her friend more so than the Force—when Leia’s mission was a matter of life and death. And as Holdo prepares to sacrifice herself, we see her make peace with it, knowing that her death will mean that the Resistance has the chance to live on another day.
“Yeah, her primary goal was to protect the light, to protect the Force, and to keep the revolutionaries alive,” Dern said. “And I think the film speaks so beautifully to that with this last image of the next generation of the Resistance, you know?”