The newest Star Wars movie, Rogue One, will be coming out on December 16th, and its timing is impeccable. It looks as though the film will focus on several themes that people around the world have contemplated during and after the Brexit vote and the American Presidential election. Specifically, there are 3 concepts that many have considered around these monumental political events which the movie could effortlessly capitalize on:
- “The World is coming undone.”
Within the last few months, the world has been shocked by two occurrences that will have gigantic international repercussions for years to come: Brexit, the UK’s chance to leave the EU, was disparaged around the globe by statisticians, politicians, and even the UK’s own treasury and the Institute for Fiscal Studies—yet the sovereign country still voted to separate. In the recent American election, people around the globe expressed fear in Donald Trump and asserted that he would be worse than Hillary Clinton at combatting terrorism, improving the U.S. economy, and promoting world peace, and yet he won. And figures on both sides of these conflicts have openly expressed a sense of their world falling apart—even Trump’s rhetoric constantly emphasized that America was being destroyed and corrupted, and many who opposed him now consistently speak of impending doom.
It’s clear that any who paid attention to these decisions have, at the least, felt discouragement at some point and, at the worst, experienced complete despair. Rogue One should easily capitalize on these powerful feelings of impending danger or even doom. In the second trailer for the film, the Rebel character Saw Gerrera explains, “The world is coming undone… Imperial flags reign across the galaxy.” The trailer shows several views of Imperial might, even focusing on a colossal warship looming over an entire city. These oppressing visuals, and the sense of hopelessness and despair they produce, should undoubtedly be more thoroughly explored in the movie and deeply resonate with some people around the world. Anyone who fits into Disney’s target audience and whom might be affected by recent political decisions will more thoroughly understand the effects of despair within their communities (whether such despair is exaggerated or not), and they may have even experienced such anguish themselves—making them all the more desperate to see how those in the film cope with it.
- “We have hope.”
Also inherent in Rogue One’s themes is something the audience should be particularly fervent for understanding: hope. Those who’ve recently experienced a crisis—whether they consider it the rule of an evil Empire or an ignorant leader—constantly search for some kind of optimism, and it is clear that Rogue One will show how to do just that. At one point in the third trailer, one woman asks despondently, “If the Empire has this kind of power, what chance do we have?” Jyn Erso, the protagonist, appears to respond earnestly, “We have hope… Rebellions are built on hope.” Later, she adds further encouragement, “We’ll take the next chance, and the next—you’re all Rebels, aren’t you?” It’s clear that Rogue One should explore the concept of hope and of making positive change within the characters’ dire situations. With the currently zealous discourse over political surprises and possibilities of dying international relations, few things could strike Disney’s audience more powerfully than showing how to continue making positive effects in a faltering world.
- “What will you become?”
When combatting something perceived as evil (whether it’s in the form of a tyrannical dictator or a misguided idealist), people also often seek to understand who they are—they must decide how they will act, what moral code to live by, and which side they will join. Such a soul-searching set of questions that people around the globe may be asking themselves requires plenty of focus and exploration—and, once again, Rogue One will hit it right on the head. Saw Gerrera ended the film’s first teaser trailer by asking, “What will you do when they catch you? What will you do if they break you? If you continue to fight—what will you become?” As he asks this, we see the main character even dressed in Imperial garb—possibly posing falsely with the Empire, but undoubtedly hinting at the dangers of attempting to fight such a dominant enemy. Clearly, Rogue One will need to thoroughly explore this question, showing how Jyn Erso and others respond to and change in a growing crisis—and audience members will connect in kind, undoubtedly relating to the protagonists in the film as they question their own choices and evaluate how far they must go to fix their world.
There have been a variety of reactions to recent political occurrences, and there have been interestingly varied predictions on the quality of the newest Star Wars installment. However, whatever one’s political and artistic opinions, it’s clear that Rogue One will blend perfectly with some of the expressions of despair, searches for hope, and definitions of character that have come about from the Western world’s most recent political events.