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The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary finally explains what Dominic Monaghan was doing there
It's Star Wars tradition that new characters are introduced to the saga with each new installment, even if that installment is a sequel that already has plenty of heroic characters to follow. That means we sometimes meet a new character as the film's marketing machine ramps up, feel like we're about to get to know them, and then come away from the film feeling like we don't really know them at all. That was the case with Dominic Monaghan's character in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but lucky for us the film's Visual Dictionary adds a lot of extra depth if you're willing to go and look.
**Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker below.**
Monaghan, a fan-favorite thanks to his work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Lost, joined the Star Wars cast for Rise as Beaumont Kin, a member of the Resistance who only ever seemed to appear in trailers in the background while other characters were standing in the foreground. In the final film, Beaumont's also largely relegated to the background of the action, hanging out at the Resistance base while the film's main heroes have their adventure, then participating in the climactic battle on Exegol as part of Finn's "ground" invasion team. He does get one major showcase moment, though. When Poe Dameron tells the rest of the Resistance that Palpatine is back, Beaumont's the one who gets to offer a brief insight as to how that's possible "Dark science...cloning...secrets only the Sith knew."
Still, some fans have wondered why a new character was warranted if Beaumont was simply going to be another member of the Resistance, particularly in light of Rose Tico's (Kelly Marie Tran) very limited screen time in The Rise of Skywalker after having such a major role in The Last Jedi. Was he just there to let one more actor be in Star Wars, or to keep up with the tradition of introducing new heroes each time out? According to The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary, written by the Lucasfilm Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo, Beaumont was actually much more than just another freedom fighter in the crowd, and the book sheds intriguing new light on what role he might have played in material that didn't make it into the finished film.
According to the book, Beaumont was an academic by trade, and specifically a historian with a particular interest in the days of the Old Republic, the Jedi, and the Sith. He traveled the galaxy visiting the sites of old Sith temples on planets like Malachor and Moraband, and learned to read various ancient language to further his study of a time period that had largely been lost to history. He was a wunderkind in his field, and was on track to be a professor at the Lerct Historical Institute ... but then The First Order activated Starkiller Base and destroyed the Hosnian System, and with it the New Republic. Beaumont, having predicted the war would escalate based on his knowledge of past galactic conquest, put his career on hold and joined the Resistance, where he became a key intelligence Captain.
After Rey returned from Ahch-To with the Sacred Jedi Texts from the planet in hand, Beaumont also used his knowledge of ancient languages to become her "helpful assistant," translating some of the books for her so she could further her studies of the Force. As the final stages of the conflict became clearer, Beaumont's knowledge of ancient Sith occult practices also suddenly became very timely, and his insights helped the Resistance learn what to look for upon Palpatine's return, in part because — as The Visual Dictionary notes — many people in the galaxy still didn't know that Palpatine was first and foremost a Sith Lord.
So, Beaumont actually brought a lot of rather specific skills and knowledge to the Resistance, but sadly we never really got to see those deployed in the film. It's easy to imagine a scene in which he's helping Rey decipher some key bit of Force knowledge that would help her explain her connection to Kylo Ren, or perhaps even helping to explain the possible ways in which a Sith Lord could return from the dead, as the book points out that he was also an expert in the Sith's efforts to pillage worlds for their knowledge of "genetic sciences." Sadly, none of that made it into an already jam-packed film, so we'll have to settle for tie-in media to tell the rest of his story.