I’ve noticed lately that a hot topic in Star Wars fandom has been the politics of Star Wars. As apolitical as I am (although I tend to lean a little left of center), I find this topic really interesting and felt compelled to jump on the computer to talk about it. I initially got inspired to write this when over the weekend I was listening to the Tosche Station podcast episode #154: Politics, Prequels, and a Force Ghost, with Nanci and Brian, with guest host Bobby Roberts. I think this episode stemmed from the Military and Politics in Star Wars panel at the recent Dragon Con 2016.
Politics in Star Wars has been a pretty touchy subject for some, (not myself included) since the prequels happened. When Star Wars made its return with The Force Awakens last December, we saw very little politics, and then in the novel Star Wars: Bloodline, politics was again at the forefront of the story. I guess it’s only appropriate. After all, it does parallel the fact that this is an election year here in the United States.
So, what sparked my interest and what stimulated my ear holes while listening to this podcast episode, was this question/topic: Star Wars is pretty blatantly told, from a left-wing point of view. Isn’t it? A rebellious organization that is fighting against an oppressive iron-fisted government and yet, eventually, they overcome it. It can be argued that, from the Empire’s point of view, the rebels are a terrorist group. I mean, I’m pretty sure Tarkin has referred to them as terrorists at some point. In our earthly world, the word terrorist has nasty implications. It’s not a word we throw around while discussing valentine’s gifts. George Lucas was (is) a pretty liberal thinking guy also. In the mists of the Vietnam War, I think the U.S. was going through some turmoil within its own boundaries and psyche, and Star Wars was a representation of those events. The Battle of Endor was a microcosm of the entire original trilogy was it not?
What I’m getting at is, and what was brought up in the podcast was, if Star Wars is such a left-wing biased story (and if you don’t think it is, please leave comments below, I’d love to talk more about this), how do those who swing right enjoy watching it, when their political beliefs are being contradicted? It could be argued that George crafted Star Wars to be seen either way, with both the Empire and the rebellion as the bad guy, depending on your point of view. Is it possible that Mon Mothma and those surrounding her, represent a more elite class of citizen—not necessarily the common man/woman/child? Making them not as pure as we think they are? Or are they using their financial/influential status as a tool to help those who can’t help themselves? Much like Leia Organa in Star Wars Rebels.
What if the Empire was a benign government that provided for their people, and from that rebels declared guerilla warfare on them? What sort of discussion would stem from that?
When I sit back and ponder over what I’ve just wrote, I think Star Wars is a story of good versus evil, not necessarily left versus right. Politically speaking, left or right aren’t inherently good or evil, it is the people who decide that.
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!
Twitter @EricOnkenhout (willshatter82)