Bow to the First Order

I could talk at length about a number of scenes in The Force Awakens, but one scene that really stood out to me in my first viewing of the film is when General Hux, played by Domhnall Gleeson, addresses an assembly of First Order soldiers and officers on Starkiller Base. With a massive First Order flag behind him and a sea of white armor and black uniforms spread out below him, General Hux delivers a charismatic speech lambasting the Republic and “loathsome” Resistance.  I was immediately captivated by what Hux was preaching, drawn in by the raw hatred bleeding off of every perfectly annunciated word as he railed against a Republic “regime” that “acquiesces to disorder.” I could easily imagine the soldiers and officers in attendance feeling empowered by their commanding General, their resolve to make the galaxy “bow to the First Order” strengthened.

It hardly needs to be said but this scene gives off some pretty intense Nazi-esque vibes, the setting visually reminiscent of a Nazi Party rally with General Hux playing the role of Adolf Hitler. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Domhnall Gleeson prepared for this particular scene by watching videos of Adolf Hitler speaking, given how closely Hux imitates Hitler in demeanor and oration.

Salute
General Hux (foreground) receives a very Nazi-esque salute from his soldiers, left arm raised with a fist, once his speech concludes.  
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Hux isn’t just mimicking Hitler, though. Oh no, he is also mimicking another Chancellor we are all familiar with: Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Recall the scene in Revenge of the Sith where Palpatine gives an impassioned and empowering speech to the Senate about the “Jedi rebellion” and the physical scars he received from the Jedi. He then follows this with a chilling declaration:

In order to ensure the security and continuing stability, the Republic will be re-organized into the First Galactic Empire!

While the context of General Hux’s speech is different than Palpatine’s, both none-the-less mirror each other in an important way: by calling for the end of the Republic. Using his authority as Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine proclaims the formation of the Empire, washing away the Republic even though he does not, at that point, disband the Senate. On the other hand, Hux vehemently and viciously exclaims more than once that the end of the Republic is nigh, which comes to fruition when Starkiller  Base is used to destroy Hosnian Prime, the planet hosting the current session of the Republic Senate.

Two charismatic and authoritative figures declaring and then executing, in their own ways, the same outcome – the death of liberty and democracy.

But while Hux parallels Palpatine in declaring an end to the Republic, this shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that the two individuals are exactly the same, or that the organizations they represent are perfectly comparable. Frankly, even though the First Order was born from the remnants of its Imperial predecessor, they are not the same thing. Both share some obvious similarities, like the use of Stormtroopers, Star Destroyers, and TIE Fighters, but the two entities have much different motivations and goals. And this is precisely  why this short scene is so critical to the film – Hux might be inspiring his soldiers with his harsh words, but he is also speaking to you and I, giving us direct insight into the First Order and how it stands apart from the Galactic Empire.

Honestly, what better way for the film to teach us about this mysterious organization, the new villains in the Star Wars universe, than by allowing us all to participate in a secret gathering on their secret base?

So, what did YOU think about this scene? About General Hux? About the First Order?  


This post is part of the Star Wars ComLINKS series. Check out more Star Wars ComLINKS over at Anakin and His Angel.

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2 comments

  1. Great post, Jeff! I love that we all had different favorite scenes.

    When I first saw the film I sort of felt like General Hux was a bit overacted in this scene. Like he was overly passionate or something. But after watching it multiple times, it didn’t both me as much. I don’t think I realized how much he had to project his voice (that was quite the crowd he was speaking to) and combined with his obvious passion it just seemed quite dramatic. I hope we get to discover more about his character in the next film. I’m curious to know what his history with Kylo Ren is too.

    I don’t know if this makes me sound ignorant, but I didn’t even catch the Nazi vibe. That is very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d actually agree with you. The scene WAS overacted, but I also think that was completely intention. The way Gleeson annunciates his words is REALLY precise, having an almost over-the-top emphasis on them at times. And to an outsider like us, that IS really strange, but to the members of his audience, his soldiers, it would make perfect sense because they are probably used to it. That’s why I instantly got the Nazi/Hitler vibe from the scene/Hux, respectively. In fact, I am 100% positive it is what Abrams was going for because the scene (almost) perfectly mirrors the Nazi party rally that is documented in the film Triumph of the Will. The way Hitler speaks in the film, as he addresses thousands who are in attendance, is exactly the same – perfectly still as he over-annuciates the words he is literally screaming at times. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised AT ALL if we found out Gleeson was told to watch Hitler speak to get ready for this moment in the film.

      Anywho, enough about the Nazis – I am totally with you about Kylo Ren, I want to know what Hux, Ren, AND Phasma are all like together. We got to see little moments, but I really thought we would get more of their interactions. I suppose we will just have to be patient…ugh.

      Thanks for the comment!!!

      Like

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