Star Wars and politics

Geoffrey Dochat and Dylan McCabe

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars became a staple of pop-culture. The original trilogy redefined cinema through its revolutionary special effects, stellar character development and universal themes. What kept bringing fans back was the idea of hundreds of alien species in space facing off in incredible wars for what’s best for the universe. The futuristic weapons, the magical powers and the destructive force of the Galactic Empire. Oh, how the times have changed.
There will be spoilers for the recent Star Wars trilogy, so read at your own discretion.
Disney’s 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm, the studio that created the sci-fi series, left Star Wars fans concerned as Disney’s reputation was not one anyone would associate with the franchise. Fans disapproved of this transition and were highly skeptical of Disney’s ability to recreate the nostalgia and excitement they were used to. These fears were later justified as the new trilogy has been one nightmare after the next.
Lucasfilm’s president, Kathleen Kennedy, acts as if there have never been strong women in film. With her control over the series, she has advocated for more women role. Rose Tico, a female character in the story, is quite possibly the most hated character of all time. Not only did she risk the entire universe to save a group of space-camels from being forced to race at an intergalactic casino (political message), but she later risks the entire good-guy team by preventing the sacrifice of John Boyega’s character, Finn.
The arguments of men being “scared of female roles” and only wanting to see males as a lead character are simply false. We have no problem with female-leads, we just want them to make the story interesting. “The Hunger Games,” “Wonder Woman,” “The Matrix” and the “Terminator” movies are all great examples of fierce women protagonists that are praised by critics and movie-goers alike.
On paper, more women in film is a great idea, but Disney’s execution of it has been a disaster. Directors live in fear of persecution for not representing every gender, race and sexual orientation in their films and it shows in the reviews.
Disney’s choice to utilize nostalgia while implementing new characters disheartened fans. Reigniting their love for classic characters only to kill them off was a horrible choice to make, and it is absurd to think that fans would embrace this. Coupled with fans’ frustration over forced character roles and underlying political messages, Disney has completely disregarded what Star Wars should be about.
What frustrated fans the most is that the force, a Jedi’s power, has become a joke. The pre-Disney movies depicted the force as a sacred ability harnessed through vigorous training. The new trilogy’s lead character Rey, a female, is seen as someone who has potential to become a force-user. However, her character undermines every rule in this regard, as she develops an immense power simply on her own. Defeating two of the strongest force-users in the galaxy and using a healing power that no other character has ever used in Star Wars history have only furthered Disney’s abandonment of the logical continuity in the Star Wars universe that fans expect.
Many people label the Star Wars fandom as toxic, claiming their hatred for Disney is unwarranted and useless. This couldn’t be more wrong. We say the things we say because we don’t want to see this beloved franchise become corrupted by political and social ideals. It’s not just about Star Wars, it’s about watching ignorant executives forcing their agendas on dissenting audiences.