The Volokh Conspiracy

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Rogue One and the Politics of Star Wars


Felicity Jones, playing main character Jyn Erso in "Rogue One."
Felicity Jones stars as main character Jyn Erso in "Rogue One."

The Institute for Humane Studies Learn Liberty website just published my thoughts on "Rogue One and the Politics of Star Wars." Here is an excerpt:

Rogue One tells the story of how the Rebel Alliance got the plans to the first Death Star, setting up the iconic events of the original 1977 Star Wars film. In some ways, this is the best Star Wars movie since Empire Strikes Back. The story is strong and the characters compelling. In sharp contrast to the last four Star Wars movies, there are few notable plot holes….

Despite its many virtues, however, Rogue One perpetuates several problematic aspects of the portrayal of political issues in the Star Wars series. I don't blame fans who prefer to ignore the politics and just focus on the excitement and fun. But the politics of popular culture are worth examining, if only because they often reflect real issues and may have an impact on real-world political attitudes

Rogue One is a powerful and well-told story. But it's still worth considering the subtle, but disquieting flaws in its approach to political issues. The questions they raise may not be confined to a galaxy far, far away.

I previously commented on the politics of Star Wars here, here, and here.