This is such a brilliant analysis of the Poe Dameron/Vice Admiral Holdo relationship, and our perceptions of how the storyline unfolds between them onscreen…

The problem that I have with this interpretation is that it is relies on what I see as an inherently false assumption about the mechanics of military information-sharing, when it’s valuable, and what a typical military attitude towards secrecy actually is.

In-universe, the Rebellion/Resistance isn’t known for formality. Promotions are ad-hoc, someone’s random wild idea for a suicide run is more likely to be entertained than not, there’s a general air of informality and wide information sharing. This makes sense if you consider that they stand in opposition to a fascist government; presumably, the idea that a commander doesn’t have to tell soldiers shit and they should just shut up and follow orders is one that a radical anti-authoritarian splinter group would have trouble accepting as true. But, on top of that, Holdo didn’t tell Poe that her plan wasn’t open for discussion; she refused to tell anyone her plan, even when it became obvious that her secrecy and everyone’s unfamiliarity with her was contributing to a sense of unease that was already pretty fucking bad given the dangerous situation they were in.

It’s established, both in-universe and in real-world military contexts, that if someone above you gives you an order, you have to follow it. But even real-world militaries acknowledge limits on this. You are still commanding people. If Holdo had said, “this is my plan and it’s not up for debate”, and Poe had continued to push, then it would reflect the above meta.  As-is, she’s not telling Poe to follow orders and not try to debate her plan; she’s telling him that she is not going to tell him what the plan is. She’s asking an entire ship full of people who are unfamiliar with her to just take it on faith that she’s not screwing them over, in a desperate situation where the crew is justifiably concerned they are all about to die. That’s a recipe for mutiny, and it’s a total own-goal on Holdo’s part. There is no reason given in the actual movie for why she can’t just tell people they plan to cut and run. There are any number of fanwanks you could apply to make it make sense, but the movie doesn’t seem to even realize any explanation for her secrecy is needed. That’s a toxic interpretation of how military command works that is very, very rarely held up in reality nowadays.

Here is an article from the US Army on information sharing. It’s in the context of sharing information across international troops, but I think it’s valuable in that it gives a window into how much commanders in modern militaries think about the psychology of people they’re commanding. Everyone knows mutinies are bad, but again: you are still commanding people. If your reaction to a mutiny is “well just follow orders, that’s what you’re supposed to do, IN THE MILITARY, no matter what”, you’re advocating an authoritarian military structure. Actual military writing/thinking/education has recognized the importance of good leadership to prevent mutinies for a long-ass time, think Age of Sail long. Holdo’s big mistake was withholding information in an incredibly tense situation where she had a minimum of trust from her brand new crew; that doesn’t mean an impulsive mutiny was the best choice, but it does muddle the waters regarding Poe’s actions. 

tl;dr this was actually bad writing because it all hinges on Holdo’s secrecy, and we’re given no actual rational explanation for that secrecy aside from “military rah rah”, which is not a real explanation historically or in context.

Adding to that, the sacrifice of their only capital ship that could deal significant damage to the rest of the enemy fleet is retarded, if that idea was up her sleeve to do a hyperspace ram, use one of the smaller ships like the nebulon frigate (medical ship).

It’s a massive ship moving at faster than light speeds, the size of the ship isn’t going to matter that much. The other part is that the ship could’ve been piloted by a fucking Astro-mech instead of one of the only surviving members of the resistance’s high command.


Holdo’s character and choices is/are poorly written and the movie was a massive letdown.