New hope in a galaxy not so far away?

March 28, 2020

Disney+ TV series a one-stop portal for everything Star Wars. 

The latest force to join the galaxy of streaming options for Australian audiences is Disney+. It’s the one-stop portal for everything Star Wars, but the 11 films of the Jedi universe are not the centre of Mickey’s strategy. Disney+ now fields a Star Wars television series for every age group that could hope to swing a light sabre…

 

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS

 

The award-winning animation returns and the real heroes are its clone troopers. Genetically identical, they still find ways to express themselves individually. Aimed at kidults, its creators have selected that determination to be as distinct as the trademark byline that launches the final season: “Embrace others for their differences, for that makes you whole.”

 

STAR WARS: REBELS

 

The teen-focused backstory to the ragtag assemblage of fighters who will one day take down the Empire’s first Death Star. In particular, this animation chooses as its heroes two non-conformist Jedi — Kanan, a half-trained padawan, and Ezra his apprentice, who discovers whole realms of the Force on his own.

 

THE MANDALORIAN

 

An adult western in space set some time after Return of the Jedi. Our sympathies are drawn towards a lone Mandalorian gunman, feared by all, and a ‘baby Yoda’ who everyone wants dead. Outsiders are increasingly finding their meaning in each other as they travel across the galaxy.

 

STAR WARS: RESISTANCE

 

A prequel series to The Force Awakens, aimed at primary and early high school viewers, with a style that mimics pacesetter Iron Man: Armoured Adventures. In it we meet teen characters Caz and Niku, the alien optimist whose greatest faith is reserved for his friend.

 

LEGO STAR WARS: ALL STARS

 

A timeless Star Wars universe which presents all of the series’ greatest characters in Lego form, hanging out and going on adventures together. This universe is so at peace with itself that a former Separatist battle droid is now part of Han Solo’s crew.

 

Disney+ has done an incredible job of fracturing the Star Wars universe into bite-size chunks for every age group. The real beauty of this system, though, lies in the consistent Star Wars worldview.

 

Our worldview is the viewfinder through which we interpret our day-to-day reality. We read news reports about bank corruption, and our worldview suggests the cause. We see people sleeping on the streets and our worldview tells us why they’re there. It’s our underlying explanation for what’s wrong with our world.

 

The Star Wars ‘galaxyview’ is no exception. The franchise believes in a world where people are free to follow the path of their dreams and discover their true selves. The problem is always a repressive counter-culture — Sith, Empire or First Order — that stands in the way. And the solution? A Republic, a Rebellion, a Resistance dedicated to overturning centralised control in the name of individual freedom. But this isn’t actually a ‘New Hope’, just an old one flying an X-wing.

 

The Star Wars philosophy leans heavily on 20th century psychology. We possess deep desires for pleasure but, according to Al Wolters, they are suppressed by “… the authority figures in society and family”. So, all this time, it wasn’t just Luke’s father behind Darth Vader’s mask.

 

Consequently, Sigmund Freud suggested our only solution was realising “… the unrepressed freedom of the individual”. And, not surprisingly, every Star Wars storyline ends with the utter destruction of a trade blockade, a Death Star, a weaponised planet, an immense fleet. Yet, the Star Wars universe continues to fight the same battle, against new and greater villains, because it’s not really the ‘authority figures’ that are standing between us and happiness.

 

By contrast, Christianity’s worldview says our greatest happiness lies in a deep, personal relationship with our Creator. But we live unhappy lives because our hearts have rebelled against God — the enemy is inside, not outside. The only solution, Keller says, is for God to graciously remove the sin that comes between us and him.

 

The Star Wars universe offers a glimpse of the beauty God has created in its myriad faces of individuality. Yet if the Bible’s view is correct, we’re not going to find ultimate happiness by removing our restrictions, any more than the Millennium Falcon flies better without its pilot. Christianity alone offers a worldview that identifies our problem as one within us. And for that, we’ll need a rescue that comes from outside.

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Vol. 139, No. 14 // 11 April 2020

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