I’ve been on a roller coaster with General Hux since The Force Awakens came out in 2015. I took an immediate dislike to the character: his costume, his crazy Starkiller Base speech performance. He’s a caricature. Later I realized I had actually seen Domhnall Gleeson in a number of movies in which he was quite good (Frank, About Time). I started to have a better appreciation for him as an actor. I think JJ Abrams did him no favors in this particular film, however.
Then I met a friend who was as passionate about defending this character as I am about defending Ben Solo. But I couldn’t quite understand why: Hux is just awful to the core. As played in the film, he hasn’t a scrap of redeeming value. Same is true of the book. He’s smart, but stone-hearted. Yet my friend insisted there was more to him. That his father Brendol (a known quantity in the Star Wars universe) was a brutal man. That Hux likely suffered under him–yadda yadda yadda.
I don’t know if my friend was just prescient, but the Aftermath series by Chuck Wendig reveal that worse than just being the child of a ruthless imperial, Armitage Hux is actually Brendol’s bastard, whom he loathes. At age four he’s taken from his mother and forced along with Brendol into fleeing the galaxy. Brendol psychologically and physically abuses the boy. Heart-breakingly, Hux is quick to learn that power and violence are necessary for his survival.
We don’t know yet what has happened to him over the next twenty-some-odd years of his life, but with a start like that, it’s not hard to see why he turned out the way he did.
The idea of imperiled children has emerged as a major theme of the new Star Wars: all of the principal characters are dealing with abandonment and abuse issues. I doubt there’s much hope for Hux, though. It’s clear he’s set aside as the worst-case-scenario under adverse circumstances. That, to me, is at least pitiable. I dislike him much less now.
I made these plates out of mad respect for my friend who called it long before it became canon. The second plate includes Hux’s greatcoat, which he wears in the movie, but the other pieces on that plate were requests: an Admiral’s uniform (like the one Krennic wears in Rogue One, just for fun), and Hux’s “fanon” pet cat Millicent, the subject of much meme-ing. The cat started out as a joke, but she’s so ubiquitous now she might as well be canon.
[click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]