An amateur Star Wars watcher making no original conclusions about the movie yet simply thinking through her own observations with spoilers included.
I wouldn’t be the first to write on the issues of the world in Star Wars. The idea of the force, being a somewhat vague concept of energy and nature which can be wielded for power, good or bad, has pagan themes down to its core. It’s a worship of nature and a dependence one one’s self for morality. It is faith, but in a thing which has no security nor salvation. I have nothing against this world in fiction. I will encourage my children to read and watch the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson as they battle against odds and show themes of good over evil, friendship, sacrifice, and love which are rooted in the great story of Christ who came before them. But upon watching the latest Star Wars movie something else struck me about their world. Hopelessness. They are lost in a cycle which cannot be overcome because of the very design of their world. The force is the most worshipped and powerful idea. It is an energy derived from nature, yet it is neutral. We see two distinct sides in Star Wars, each using the force for their own purposes. We depend upon the goodness of one side to win out, but the force takes no sides.
There is a scene in “The Last Jedi” where Rey has the opportunity to join Kylo Ren. Two people on separate sides are stuck in a moral dilemma. Kylo Ren offers an idea: let’s get rid of this whole idea of Jedi and Sith and let’s start something new that doesn’t fall back into this pattern we’ve seen so many times. As audience members we revolt against this idea which sounds evil and goes against the very grain of their world, and applaud Rey for resisting. And yet, in retrospect, what he proposes is so fundamentally interesting. At the end of the movie, the good will win, but, inevitably, at some point, someone will become fond of the power and choose to overthrow good, becoming bad, and the fight starts all over again. And the great force has nothing to say in this matter. In fact, if it does have a stance, it probably approves of this cycle-like existence. As Rey trains from Luke, we see her grasp the idea of the force; she sees birth and death, happiness and despair, comfort and loss. The ups and downs of the world, this circle of life, it cannot be escaped. In fact, it is even praised. In a strange way, Kylo Ren offers a way out. Of course, whether that would have worked or not is hard to say. Considering the fickleness of humanity I highly doubt it, but the whole concept was striking. We convince ourselves that this cycle is fine. It’s just the way it is. But what is amazing is that in this action-packed, adventurous, long-lasting story there is no end and no real hope. The cycle will go on because that is the world they live in. In many ways, our world seems similar with death and life, grief and joy, and pain and healing all in an endless circuit. So, why not just accept it and get used to it? Something inside us seems to fight this complacency.
There is another action-packed, adventurous, long-lasting story that, unlike Star Wars, actually gives the hope of a final ending where good defeats evil forever. In that story, the “force” is not neutral, He is God and He is utterly good. There is no playing dice with Him; He has already defeated the evil. In His story, this cycle we find ourselves in where we see our loved ones die, feel the frailty of our bodies, endure the frustrations of our world, bear with grief and fear, is not something we need to settle with, nor should we. We were not made for it. Only in the story of Christ do we actually see a defeat of the never-ending cycle where Good ultimately and forever defeats the evil in this world. The best part…this story is true. Enjoy the wonderful world of Star Wars, but be forever grateful that you do not live in it.