Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a film so packed with plot and various loose ends that we're still going back over the film and its many characters, piecing every hidden detail and potential spinoff story together. Thankfully, the Visual Dictionary released for the film is a massive resource full of intriguing information we can go back to again and again, and today we're turning it to answer another key question from the film: How, exactly, did General Hux fall so far, and how did Allegiant General Pryde swoop in to take his place so quickly?
**Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ahead.**
In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Supreme Leader Snoke remarks that "a cur's weakness, properly manipulated, can be a sharp tool." He's talking to Kylo Ren, referring to General Armitage Hux, and offering some insight as to why he chooses to keep the First Order's military leader where he is. Hux was raised in the remnants of the Empire, the son of General Brendol Hux, who filled his head with stories of glory, and therefore young Armitage only ever aspired to the kind of leadership and conquest his father told him about. Snoke exploited that ambition as often as possible, and urged Ren to see the possibility of it.
Unfortunately for Hux, Snoke was not around much longer. By the end of The Last Jedi Ren was the new Supreme Leader, and it was easy to see the beginnings of a power struggle between the Dark Side practitioner and his General, as Hux's resentment started to boil. By the time of The Rise of Skywalker, though, Hux's role as military leader in the First Order has already been usurped by Allegiant General Pryde, and he's fallen so far that he's become a spy for the Resistance because, as he puts it, he "need(s) Kylo Ren to lose." So, how did that happen so fast?
Well, as the Visual Dictionary (written by Lucasfilm Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo) spells out, Hux's real fall began at Batuu, during the events of the Rise of the Resistance attraction at Disney theme parks. That attraction features Hux's Star Destroyer, the Finalizer, suffering major damage after a surprise attack from Resistance ships. This was seen as a major embarassment for the First Order, and also meant that Finalizer could no longer serve as the flagship of Supreme Leader Ren's fleet. Ren needed a new flagship, and it turns out he had more at his disposal than he previously thought.
Much of The First Order fleet, including Snoke's massive flagship, was destroyed by the Holdo Manuever in The Last Jedi, or so much of the galaxy thought. In reality, Snoke was so secretive in terms of the true strength of his military that he even kept some of it secret from various commanders, for fear that they might spill secrets to the wrong people, particularly world leaders who thought they were seceding from the New Republic for a more noble purpose. When Ren took over as Supreme Leader, he discovered powerful reserve forces hidden away by Snoke, including a reserve led by Pryde, an Imperial veteran who fought at the Battle of Jakku and had served Snoke with loyal patience ever since.
In the wake of the defeat at Batuu, and already suspicious of Hux's motives, Ren transferred his command to Pryde's ship, the Steadfast, and named Pryde Allegiant General, which the Visual Dictionary describes as a kind of "grand marshal" in command of both ground forces and the fleet. It's the rank Hux always wanted for himself but never got.
So Hux spent his entire life in service to first the Empire, then the First Order, was groomed for greatness by his father, then engineered his father's death so he could take command. He was loyal to Snoke, successfully destroyed the Republic Senate via Starkiller Base, and seemed poised to be the unquestioned military leader of the First Order. Then, in a matter of months, it all fell apart, and he was left following the orders of an old Imperial loyalist he'd known since he was a boy, who'd long since been relegated to the reserves while he'd been fighting on the front lines of the war. Plus, Kylo Ren got to lord his supremacy over him whenever he wanted. Yeah, no wonder Hux decided to start snitching.