Star Wars: 10 Things Only Diehard Fans Know About Admiral Ackbar


Star Wars fans were appalled when Rian Johnson decided to kill off the character of Admiral Ackbar in his incredibly divisive Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Ackbar had taken on a life of his own ever since audiences glimpsed him in Return of the Jedi way back in 1983, and, as per MovieWeb, even the cast and crew of the Disney sequel trilogy were happy to share the screen with him.

Some characters become fan favorites because of that special something, and, whatever that is, Ackbar had it. There’s a lot that casual, and even keen Star Wars fans don’t really know about the Mon Calamari Admiral who’d go on to become one of the most popular aliens in Star Wars mythology. Yet, his history is far more intriguing than many think.

10 His First Name

Believe it or not, Admiral Ackbar does, in fact, have a first name, but it’s conspicuously absent from a lot of material, perhaps because no one thought it prudent to include. Either way, it helps establish that the Mon Calamari race does have a first and last name, which is another bit of trivia for Star Wars buffs.

Ackbar’s first name is Gial, which sounds suspiciously like “gill.” This may have been a play on words, seeing as how his race has “calamari” in the name. Of course, it could be a coincidence, but it’s one mystery about the character that can finally be put to rest.

9 His Military Service

Nobody rises to the rank of Admiral by chance. Ackbar had paid his dues through years of military service, beginning way back in his younger days when he enlisted as a member of the Mon Cala Royal Guard. His job was to protect high-ranking officials, esteemed monarchs, and VIPs, which he himself would later become.

Through hard work and dedication, Ackbar climbed the ranks rather quickly, eventually becoming the Captain of the Guard. Having cemented his status as a man of stature and power, Ackbar later became Mon Cala’s Chief Military Advisor, a position that would earn him experience in the battles yet to come.

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8 The Clone Wars

Ackbar spent much of the Clone Wars era defending his homeworld of Mon Cala, a Star Wars planet that wasn’t particularly influential in the eyes of fans, though held great strategic importance. He was instrumental not just in helping to repel a Quarren/Separatist takeover of the planet, but also in helping to install a young and inexperienced yet capable new King.

Like many planets, Mon Cala was able to repel Separatist forces, but it fell under the yolk of the dictatorial Empire shortly thereafter. It would be the start of a long-running campaign against a galactic-wide totalitarian government intent on crushing any and all resistance.

7 Leaving Mon Cala

When the Empire rose to prominence, a surviving Jedi Padawan named Ferren Barr took up arms against it, seeking revenge on the Sith for the destruction of the Jedi Order. Barr was notorious for abandoning the Jedi code wholesale and routinely used mind control, assassination techniques, and other guerrilla tactics to achieve his goals.

While his actions did galvanize Mon Cala to join the Rebel Alliance, it also created a major conflict between their forces and the Empire. Eventually, Ackbar would be forced to flee his home planet and take the fight to the Empire on a much larger scale.

6 His Influence During The Rebellion Era

Ackbar was not just a small cog in a much larger machine, but rather a major component of its success. It was his influence and involvement with several high-priority missions and plans that would eventually pave the way for the Rebellion’s victory at the Battle of Endor.

In addition to assisting with a number of missions designed to weaken the Imperial’s military strength and strategic holds, Ackbar also helped devise the two-pronged attack on the Second Death Star, one of the Empire’s most immoral and evil machinations. He even brought Lando Calrissian into it by offering him a large sum of money to lead up the attack.

5 The Post-Endor Battles

The battle for the full liberation of the galaxy did not end with the destruction of the second Death Star, nor the death of Emperor Palpatine. Instead, it dragged on for a prolonged period of time, and Ackbar remained at the front lines the entire time in order to secure full victory.

He nearly fell prey to the machinations of Gallius Rax, a young man spared from the Emperor’s wrath in one of his most merciful moments, who rose to become Counselor to the Empire following its defeat at Endor. Ackbar and Rax would continue to outplay each other at every turn, setting the stage for the final battle at Jakku, where the Empire was considered officially defeated, once and for all.

4 Peacetime

When the war against the Empire finally came to an official conclusion, the remnants of the Empire were forced to surrender and sign the Galactic Concordance, effectively putting them under the boot of the New Republic. Believing his work was done, Ackbar called in for his retirement and returned home to Mon Cala.

There, he fathered a son named Aftab, who would later go on to become a key fighter in the battle against the First Order. Ackbar also oversaw the redesign and upgrade of the classic X-Wing model into the sleek new T-85X to aid Republic forces and came to the aid of Leia Organa when her unfortunate parentage sparked a rift within the Senate.

3 He Kept In Shape

Even in his advanced years, Ackbar made sure to keep both his mind and body focused and in tip-top shape; a throwback to his younger days as a member of the Royal Guard. He maintained his martial arts prowess with the Kar-shak, a traditional melee weapon used by his people, which kept his body in shape.

The training also had a sharpening effect on his mind, as well. He analyzed each of his victories and his failures in equal measure in order to make adjustments to his strategy. Narrowly avoiding total defeat at the Battle of Endor, Ackbar redoubled his mental training, believing he was becoming too careless.

2 His Suit Kept Him Functional

Many aquatic-based species in the Star Wars universe have a hard time adjusting to drier and more sterile environments such as life on a starship. The Mon Calamari were no different, which meant Ackbar would have to adapt accordingly in order to serve out his campaign against the Empire.

As a result, he wore the uniform of the Mon Cala Navy, which was made of a material that retained moisture, that in turn, prevented his skin from drying out. It isn’t known whether Ackbar grew accustomed to this lifestyle or if it was a burden he bore in secret, but it didn’t seem to affect his resolve or concentration.

1 Behind-The-Scenes Origins

Originally, Ackbar was created from a series of drawings of different alien types that were potentials for an appearance in Return of the Jedi. Director Richard Marquand was shadowed by George Lucas during a lot the production, who was known for making up a lot of the story elements of Star Wars as he went along. Ackbar was no different, and Lucas allowed Marquand to pick from one of fifty concept designs to bring the character to life.

Marquand ended up choosing a piece by Nilo Rodis-Jamero, the Assistant Art Director of Visual Effects on Return of the Jedi. According to StarWars.com, the piece was simply titled “Calamari Man,” a reference to the species’ fish-like qualities. With nothing in the way of a backstory, the character was chosen, the name loosely adopted, and fan appreciation ended up paving the way for more exposition in later years.

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About The Author

Derek Draven (723 Articles Published)

Derek started writing about video games at age 14 and went on to write for GamePro Magazine and several other prominent outlets. He now brings his veteran pop culture XP to ScreenRant.

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