“Rogue One” Will Be A Political Controversy, Just Watch

Michael McGrady Director of McGrady Policy Research
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Yep, I am going to be that guy. The guy that calls out the upcoming Star Wars adventure called Rogue One for being a visual political commentary to spark debate over real life events.

Raw Story, drawing from the ever so credible bowels of Reddit, is crafting a narrative that Neo-Nazis are calling to boycott the film because it produces a commentary into social justice. Then the article’s author goes on to suggest that other groups, like Donald Trump’s alt-right nationalism, a few steps left from the Nazis, are seeking to boycott the film, as well.

Getting past the inaccurate lumping of groups and political ideology, this article is one of several that opens up a debate into activism through film. And yes, it’s clearly skewed activism leaning toward to the progressive agenda, attempting to indict conservatism with fascism; two ideologies with different end goals.

Though the blog post referenced in the Raw Story Article, Infostormer, is an absolute extreme (i.e. calling the Force Awakens character of Finn a “negro” and a “retard”); however, I contend to the alt-right, the Nazis, the far left, and everyone else, “who cares anymore?”

“It’s just a movie.”

For the longest time, political theorist, academics, and everyday people like you and I have tried to find meaning in movies like those apart from the Star Wars brand. From the cinematic feats of the original trilogy and the blossoming of a wonder for younger audiences in the new century, most of the living generations have had their lives effect, in some way, by the pop culture influence of George Lucas’s space epic.

Despite that, when do the political activism of Hollywood and the messages in these films go too far?

Well to begin, just the fact that this film is set to open just weeks after one of the most controversial American elections in modern history with the winner being President-Elect Donald Trump, of all people, activists of all sorts will find ways to weave the underlying messages to support their arguments.

For example, the devout feminists serve as an excellent example of misguiding the underlying messages of a film. As the National Review points out, feminists at the release of Force Awakens hearkened the film’s main protagonist, Rey (played by Daisy Ridley), as a divine god send… almost a unicorn if you will. Releasing a firestorm of pro-feminist messaging, the activists at the forefront of the effort failed to view the film’s place in the realm of modern science fiction.

A Jezebel columnist penned, “Finally, Women Do More Than Give Birth & Die in Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” calling the 2015 reboot an example of progressivism in sci-fi for having a strong female lead. However, what isn’t recognized, especially due to some accounts of millennials (most modern feminists) not having a precursory interest or, even, exposure to past Star Wars films.

Princess Leia was an absolute beast, fighting her way out of the Death Star and leading rebel soldiers. Also, not to be marooned on the island of misfit nerds, Padme Amidala showed her steal during her birth scene in Revenge of the Sith. Such a scene comprised of Padme birthing Leia and Luke (Skywalker) and later dying in childbirth in the hands of medical droids and Jedi masters Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda. What type of thought process of a pro-women bias Star Wars posses.

Other examples exist; but, the ending judgment on determining the intent of a movie, especially one as is iconic as the Star Wars brand, rests on its creator and the people who make the films possible for release. You can try interpret what Lucas wanted in his films a million different ways but we won’t fully understand. Like any pop-culture phenomenon, you will have an Empire of influence that dictates the narrative of the society, at that place in time. However, you also have a rebel alliance of non-conforming people and groups that want to enjoy the culture for what it is: culture.

No matter what was intended in the film, or if JJ Abrams indirectly caused member berries to rise and bring on the era of Donald Trump (according to South Park), the sun will rise on December 16th and the American people will be able to see Rogue One no matter their views. People can gain satisfaction, or dissatisfaction, from watching the movie while contributing the free market economy that we need to sustain. All this will happen as the social justice warriors and other extreme groups count their lucky stars that they don’t live as slaves on a planet in the outer rim.

Let’s just end it at how I think Jabba the Hutt would be even more corrupt of a leader than Donald Trump would ever be.