Rogue One Is the Most Relevant Film of 2016 and This Is Why
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Politics and Activism

Rogue One Is the Most Relevant Film of 2016 and This Is Why

Science fiction can help us learn how to fight bigotry and intolerance in our communities

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Rogue One Is the Most Relevant Film of 2016 and This Is Why
Disney

“Rebellions are built on hope,” says Jyn Erso, the plucky young heroine of the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise. If it sounds like it could be a catchy new slogan for leftists rallying against an increasingly-fascist political regime, that’s because it is. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story centers around the activities of a band of rebels desperately attempting to combat the oppressive governmental rule of the evil Galactic Empire. While the plot itself is concomitant to the original Star Wars trilogy, the storyline has never been so relevant.

Once relegated to the realm of ‘nerdom,’ science fiction has forced its way onto modern pop culture’s center stage, and films like the Star Wars franchise have endeared themselves to millions of viewers. It’s no coincidence that the most popular sci-fi movies often center around bands of rebels leading successful uprisings against fascist regimes. The Twittersphere eagerly drew connections between Rogue One’s plotline and the current political landscape, comparing the Galactic Empire’s violent tactics to ones used by president elect Donald Trump’s campaign. While the film’s producers publicly denied any intentional parallels, it’s easy to compare the divisive universe of Star Wars to the current political schism in the United States. It’s also doesn’t seem that far-fetched to liken our current president-elect to the power-hungry and volatile Emperor Palpatine or even Darth Vader––men so obsessed with their own legacies that they allow and actively encourage fascist violence from their fanatical followers. Rogue One takes place after the Rebel Alliance has suffered a series of defeats (not unlike Donald Trump’s November 9th upset), but the plucky resistance fighters find the strength they need amongst their compatriots. It’s an important message about finding courage within a political movement, and as the liberal left becomes more divided in the wake of the election, such cohesiveness has never been so necessary.

Rogue One’s gutsy heroes embark on an epic journey to help save the galaxy from an oppressive regime, but their quest––while undoubtedly critical to the defeat of the Empire––is ultimately a side plot to Luke Skywalker’s own intergalactic odyssey. However, the sacrifices they make conclusively lend themselves to the overthrowing of a fascist government. If nothing else, Rogue One cements the importance of individual action within a more homogenous political movement. And despite the producer’s insistence that the film contains no political message, it undoubtedly solidifies the significance of compassion, justice, and peace in a time where fear and hatred have become the norm. Like all Star Wars films––and on a broader scale, science fiction in general––Rogue One reiterates the idea that a single person can change the course of history. So go forth and continue to resist bigotry and oppression, young padawans. Our government is building a metaphorical Death Star of intolerance and authoritarianism, and we’re going to need one hell of a Resistance to take it down.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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