When it comes to the Mon Calamari, sure, Admiral Raddus is cool. But he's no Admiral Ackbar. First introduced in Return of the Jedi, Ackbar has only ever since returned to the big screen in The Force Awakens. Many fans expected the orange Rebel warrior hailing from Mon Cala to also make an appearance in Rogue One. But, alas, he was nowhere to be seen, despite him being a part of the Rebellion at this time. Which we know from his appearance in Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series. So, where was he?
Rogue One writer Gary Whitta recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly about all the material that didn't make it into the final movie. And one of those things was Admiral Ackbar. He had a role in Rogue One during the initial screenwriting phase. But his part was replaced by that cool blue Mon Calamria we've come to know and love as Admiral Raddus. Why the change?
It's simple. J.J. Abrams got there first. Even though Ackbar was around during the time of the events depicted in Rogue One, the team behind this first Star Wars story didn't want Ackbar to return in a movie so quickly. Call it Ackbar over-saturation. Whitta says this about booting the Admiral out of his movie.
"I always loved Admiral Ackbar. I wanted to have him in there, but J.J. Abrams got to him first. We didn't want to use him again after The Force Awakens. So Ackbar became Admiral Raddus. You will see those little evolutions."
Whitta doesn't go into it, but it sounds like some other known characters also got switched out for newer variations. Over the years, Ackbar has accumulated a pretty strong fanbase, and he's also beloved by quite a few hipsters who might turn their nose up at some of the more prominent players in this universe. Ackbar played a key role in the battle against the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi, as he commanded a fleet of Rebel soldiers from inside his ship. He also got what is arguably one of the most quotable lines from the movie with 'It's a trap!'
Admiral Ackbar was applauded by audiences when he returned for the first time in over 30 years in The Force Awakens, playing a similar role. He was only given a few lines of dialogue, but it was a fun cameo, none the less. And we all got to see him fighting alongside General Leia. Sadly, that same cameo kept him out of Rogue One. But perhaps that is for the best.
Admiral Ackbar has already been confirmed to return in The Last Jedi, which means he'll be back in theaters this holiday season, when the movie hits on December 15, 2017. Perhaps a standalone Admiral Ackbar movie could be in the works. Especially considering Disney has Star Wars movies planned all the way through 2030. We're sure there will be more of Ackbar in the years to come.