Political beings are we, not this crude matter.
“Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker” premiers on December 19th. This film, capping off the third trilogy in the beloved franchise, will hopefully answer some key questions, such as:
Is the Resistance able to topple the First Order despite the latter’s overwhelming numerical, material, and military superiority?
Does Rey give into the Dark Side?
Does Kylo Ren give into the Light Side?
Will the two of them form a coalition to find some middle ground for the Force?
Will Leia get as fitting a farewell as her fellow OG heroes Luke and Han did?
And, most importantly:
What does this tell us about the behavior of Earth’s political parties?
With the notable exception of the prequels, with their in-your-face political lessons and detailed depictions of legislative behavior and sword fights on senators’ desks, the “Star Wars” franchise is somewhat vague in its politics. Political concerns are pervasive, but politics serves as a setting for the action rather than the action itself.
Naysayers might complain that the sketchy picture we see of the politics of "Star Wars" doesn’t make sense. Here at Mischiefs of Faction, though, we believe that Galactic politics isn’t wrong. It’s just different. Those differences teach us a lot about both the Galaxy and Earth.
On this site, we have discussed, among other things, how the films depict factionalism within rebel movements, the weakness of the “Solo”-era Imperial bureaucracy, the instability of a partyless legislature, the dangers of secretive religious orders with police powers, the threat that entertainment poses to liberty, and the risks and consequences of bestowing god-like powers upon graduate students.
We’re still pondering. How does the Empire-turned-First-Order maintain stormtroopers’ loyalty when they’re just so, like, obviously evil? Should Venezuela’s self-proclaimed President Juan Guaido draw on the Force to fight the Venezuelan dictatorship? And would the Bad Guys (you know, the Trade Federation/Empire/First Order) be more successful if they built a compliant legislature instead of fancy weapons?
There’s a very good chance we’ll have more to say once the new film is released. But in the meantime, we’re going to roll out a few new posts of reflections on the “Star Wars” universe we know so far and what it has to say about our political systems here on Earth.