Star Wars fans have been discussing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker for weeks, with one of the more unexpected points of discussion being the fate of original trilogy character Nien Nunb, with one fan potentially pointing out the moment the character saw his demise. The final entry in the Skywalker Saga saw a number of exciting moments, which made it easy to overlook the character’s fate, with the author of the film’s novelization confirming on Twitter that Nunb saw his end during the final battle, though the actor responsible for the character claims that Nunb lived to see another day.
You can head to Reddit to see the sequence and decide for yourself.
The moment occurs when Emperor Palpatine attacks the Resistance ships flying overhead with lightning, as we see the Tantive IV struck with energy, igniting a series of explosions in the cockpit. While the death of the character isn’t explicitly confirmed, it would be easy to see how some might assume Nunb died due to the explosions.
When one fan took to Twitter to share a tribute to Nunb and his demise, author of the film’s novelization Rae Carson confirmed the notion, “I think it’s pretty clear from the movie (upon careful watching), so I feel comfortable confirming. Props to you for noticing!”
The author would seem like an authority on the matter, but in the days following these reports, actor Mike Quinn, who has played Nunb since 1983’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, claims that the film’s finale sees the Tantive IV landing safely, implying the pilot’s survival.
“There’s not a single piece of evidence to suggest otherwise in the final movie,” Quinn shared on Facebook. “He’s piloting Leia’s ship from the first Star Wars movie that carries the Death Star plans, the Tantive IV. It gets zapped with Palpatine’s electricity, as does Poe’s X-Wing and everyone else’s craft. Then later Poe states, ‘We’re back online.’ There’s no explosion of the Tantive IV anywhere (which is the standard storytelling convention in these movies). We even see a ship looking like the Tantive IV coming in to land above the trees at the end.”
The actor did, however, admit there was once a plan for his character to offer a heroic sacrifice.
“Halfway through filming, they shot the end celebration,” Quinn wrote. “At that point Nien was supposed to have sacrificed himself for the cause. That’s why he’s not seen there. I had a chat with [director] J.J. [Abrams] about this a while before we filmed the Tantive [IV] scenes. He explained they need some sacrifices and even his friend Greg Grunberg was going to bite it. But he swore me to secrecy. I was happy with that and going out a hero seemed a fitting end. In a penultimate edit, there was a shot of the Tantive [IV] going down or whatever, apparently. However, it was removed in the final edit.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.
What do you think happened to the character? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!