Rebel Moon's Character Deaths, Ranked By How Much They Want To Hurt You 

This article contains major spoilers for "Rebel Moon."

Zack Snyder has never been a sentimental filmmaker. He's taken plenty of criticisms (or compliments, depending on how you look at it!) for being "edgy" or "ruthless" over the years, especially after movies with high kill counts like "300," "Man of Steel," and even "Army of the Dead." So when he began work on "Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire" (you can read my review for /Film here) and it became clear that he would be focusing on yet another ensemble cast in the midst of a war, everyone should've braced themselves for the likelihood that at least some of these heroes wouldn't make it out alive. True to form, that's exactly what happens by the end of the gritty, hyper-stylized film.

Sofia Boutella's humble leader Kora and her ragtag group of mercenaries, bounty hunters, fugitives, and other unsavory outcasts emerge victorious over the fearsome might of the Imperium ... but only with a devastating price to pay. No, this isn't a bloodbath quite on the level of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" or the opening sequence of James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad," but no character in "Rebel Moon" truly feels safe. In a blockbuster landscape where entire casts are burdened with 5+ year contracts for the sake of franchise-building, there's actually something refreshing about the idea that Snyder, along with co-writers Shay Hatten and Kurt Johnstad, are only as attached to their own characters for as long as they serve a narrative purpose. Once that runs out, well, neither an actor's star power nor the amount of zeroes on their pay stub can save them.

So here are our favorite character deaths in "Rebel Moon," ranked in terms of which ones hurt us the least to the most.

5. Admiral Atticus Noble

Okay, I admit this one is a bit of a cheat since the loathsome Admiral Noble, played by Ed Skrein, isn't technically dead anymore in the film's final reveal. But, boy, is it satisfying when it seems like he officially bites the dust. The Imperium officer is trouble from the moment he first shows up on the scene, brutally murdering the village leader on the harvest moon of Veldt just to show who's in charge. He spends much of the film indiscriminately killing civilians, soldiers, and even informers alike, wracking up a long list of war crimes that assuredly made viewers love to hate him.

His comeuppance finally arrives during the climactic battle at the end of "Rebel Moon," when he ambushes Kora and her team of warriors and subsequently finds himself in the thick of a harrowing firefight. He eventually ends up dueling his rival and narrative foil Kora, on a tiny little platform suspended hundreds of feet over the ground in a tense, hand-to-hand brawl. Despite having the upper hand for the majority of their fight, however, his own arrogance and misplaced trust in the Imperium war machine winds up costing him dearly. And, thankfully, Kora shows no moral scruples about mortally wounding the film's main antagonist and leaving him for dead. He deserved no less, after all!

Of course, it's soon revealed that he survives the encounter thanks to the hasty intervention of the remaining Imperium forces and a mystical pep-talk from Regent Balisarius (Fra Free). So while he'll inevitably be back in "Part Two," Noble still feels like a worthy candidate for this list. The catharsis of his "death" is only rivaled by the disappointment of his eventual return.

4. Kai

What if Han Solo stabbed Luke and Leia in the back at the end of "Star Wars" instead of making his heroic return in the Millennium Falcon when they needed him most? That seems to have been the thought process for the arc of Kai, the roguish bounty hunter played by Charlie Hunnam. The earliest of recruits to Kai and Gunnar's (Michiel Huisman) merry gang of outlaws, Kai seems to prove his worth by saving Kora in a bar brawl (which, to stay on theme, blatantly evokes the cantina scene from the original "Star Wars") and helping them travel from planet to planet to put together their rebellion. He and Kora are two of the only members of the team to actually bond over the course of the story, with Kai sharing his misgivings over the concept of honor and his buried desire to redeem himself for a life of wrongs. So, naturally, he ends up betraying his new friends to the Imperium when they could least afford it, kickstarting the final battle and setting in motion his own doom.

Yeah, Kai gets killed off in rather brutal fashion and it's entirely his own fault. For whatever reason, he forces Gunnar to be the one tasked with killing a captive Kora by literally handing him the tool that could easily be used to either kill her or free her. Where I'm from, we call that a "design flaw." In any case, Gunnar obviously saves the life of his crush and, while the team frees themselves and enters the fray against Noble and the Imperium, he promptly pays Kai back (and then some) for his villainy. Luckily, Kai is killed off in a pretty definitive (and satisfying) fashion. It's safe to say nobody's really mourning his loss.

3. Sindri

Show of hands, people. Who among us has never told a white lie to our boss to get out of doing a little extra work? (Note to my editor reading this right now: This isn't referring to you, I swear!) In that sense, the Veldt village leader Sindri (Corey Stoll) might be the most relatable character in an entire world filled with mythological heroes and savage villains. The blue-collar, Viking-like farmer wanted nothing more than to till the land, protect his people, and have a good time during whatever downtime he got along the way. But all of that went out the window once the Imperium warship appeared in orbit and good ol' Admiral Noble decided to plunder them for their stores of wheat and grain.

Only Sindri stood up to the might of the fearsome invaders, however, by outright deceiving them about exactly how much harvest they had to spare. Gunnar unhelpfully made things worse by attempting to smooth things over and contradict his leader in front of everyone, and that led to Noble's sociopathic outburst and Sindri's awfully violent death at the wrong end of Noble's cane. He wasn't given a ton of screen time to make a proper impression, which explains his relatively low ranking on this list, but nobody can claim he deserved such a nasty end — all for the "sin" of simply wanting to ensure the safety and welfare of his people. In fact, his act of defiance at least partially inspires Kora to rebel more overtly later on, which in turn led to the full-scale rebellion against the Imperium that will carry over into "Part Two." May the galaxy remember the name of our favorite bald Viking farmer!

2. Harmada
Look, hear me out. I know that nobody went into "Rebel Moon" expecting to feel genuine remorse over the death of the terrifying spider-monster Harmada (Jena Malone), especially once we find out that her whole thing is kidnapping children and then (presumably) eating them. It's hard to defend that in a court of law, we'll grant you that one. But despite how I started this article, Zack Snyder is nothing if not a big ol' softie ... when it comes to movie monsters, that is.

Harmada gets her time to shine when Kora's troupe arrives at the planet of Daggus and descends into a mining town in search of a warrior that turns out to be Nemesis (Doona Bae). While deep underneath the surface, Nemesis encounters Harmada and is compelled to put an end to her threat, once and for all. But that's not before the bizarre creature explains exactly why she's so hostile and, in this case, currently in the middle of absconding with a child from the town. Laying out her grievances with the inhabitants of the world, it actually starts to make a twisted sort of sense that she would lash out the way she does — even if we're obligated to offer the disclaimer that we cannot, under any circumstances, condone spider-monsters kidnapping innocent kids.

Either way, Nemesis would agree. Although she cuts down the monster with her fancy duel-wielding lightsabers (which aren't actual lightsabers, for copyright purposes), she refuses to revel in her enemy's defeat. It's a bittersweet victory; a killing out of necessity, nothing more. And, incredibly enough, I found myself strangely moved by this narrative tangent that otherwise has little to do with the rest of the movie. RIP Harmada, we barely knew her.

1. Darrian Bloodaxe

Ray Fisher, as always, deserves better. The actor's behind-the-scenes misgivings on the set of "Justice League" have been well-documented, to say nothing of his subsequent campaign against Warner Bros. leadership in the months and years after. But while that made him public enemy #1 in the eyes of most studio executives, that hasn't stopped Zack Snyder from continuing their collaboration and casting him in a major role in "Rebel Moon." Here, he plays revolutionary leader Darrian Bloodaxe, a ridiculously metal name that befits his character's appearance. Although he only shows up somewhat late in the film, arriving just in time to join the team for the third-act battle, Fisher makes the absolute most of his screen time and his triumphant death.

Many naturally assumed that the actor would've only joined "Rebel Moon" if it meant sticking around for the long run, but Snyder had other plans. While Darrian's sister Devra (Cleopatra Coleman) stays behind to lead the rest of their resistance army, Darrian hardly hesitates before joining up with Kora's rebels to help defend a planet he never even visited himself. Fisher conveys all of this with the easy charisma and innate sense of heroism that he brought to Cyborg in "Zack Snyder's Justice League," which only makes his eventual death hit that much harder.

Yes, it's a recurring theme that practically every character in this movie could've done with much more development, but Darrian is perhaps least affected by the movie's shortcomings. When the Imperium springs their trap and ambushes the team, Darrian quickly realizes that only he can help stave off the Imperium's aerial firepower. He sacrifices everything to bring down an airship, saving the day at the cost of his own life. That's how you make an impression.

"Rebel Moon" is currently streaming on Netflix.

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