There is only one movie franchise that can be used to represent American Culture. That franchise is Star Wars. These movies have become so important to us as Americans that it is basically a religion. (And yes some people do actually worship Star Wars.)
But this isn’t going to be about the way Star Wars changed American lives. This is going to be about what Star Wars truly represents.
The most recent release has been Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And if you haven’t seen it yet, then stop reading because of spoilers. Duh.
Although I suggest you do go and watch it because this one movie has been regarded by many as “the best Star Wars movie of all time.” I know right. Woah, That’s a lot.
But besides that the internet is currently having a debate. As you may know the entire basis as to why the Rebellion, and the Jedi exist is because of a powerful thing called The Force. The Force basically serves as the Jedi’s religion, and other groups such as The Sith and The First Order serve The Dark Side of The Force.
To put it in short words, the Dark Side is basically the evil side. So if you need a kind of representation for that, think of Heaven and Hell. Heaven being the light, of course.
The debate is about this. What does The Last Jedi say about the world today? What is it trying to say about spirituality?
When the first movies were released in the 70’s and 80’s, the movies touched on various topics about Eastern Traditions. Most of the inspiration for the force and the Jedi came from Taoism, Buddhism, and a little bit of Christianity.
Viewers started speculating about what exactly had inspired the movies, and George Lucas finally confirmed these suspicions.
In The Last Jedi (TLJ), we see Luke Skywalker and Yoda take on a very different approach to what exactly it means to be able to be one with The Force.
Luke basically says that the old Jedi texts don’t matter anymore. That in order to save the galaxy, we don’t need those old books anymore. And Yoda, oddly enough, agrees with him.
One would think that Yoda of all people would stand by the Jedi texts and support them. What surprised us even more is that Yoda is the one who destroyed the texts!
The prequels and the originals both taught that you needed faith, ritual, and ancient wisdom to be a master of the Force. But in TLJ we see Rey just somehow become one with the Force. She wasn’t taught like the old masters. She had to look deep inside of herself to find the Force within.
Many argue that mostly symbolizes how Millennials view religion today. Millennials, although not all of them, believe more in a type of “unbounded spirituality”, over the “structured religion.”
"I see 'Star Wars' as taking all the issues that religion represents and trying to distill them down into a more modern and accessible construct," Lucas has said. "I wanted to make it so that young people would begin to ask questions about the mystery."
This, of course, is understandable. As time changes people's beliefs and views on things change. Whether is be politically, spiritually, ect. The world is never going to just stay the same always, and George Lucas has realized that.
He saw that since the 70’s, culture’s view on spirituality has had a sort of a seismic change. Over the past couple of decades there have been great shifts in the world. Lucas saw that happening and saw that as the opportunity to switch things up.
This is sort of like music. Music is constantly changing due to what the public thinks. It changes based on trends and beliefs. TLJ couldn’t just be based off of the old principles. It had to be new and fresh for a new generation.
Everyone has a different take on what TLJ says, and how they interpret that meaning. But one thing above everything is still the same.
Star Wars is, and always be, about family. So regardless what you believe, Star Wars preaches about importance of family and maintaining those relationships whole.
Now we only have one question left. Is Jar-Jar Binks Supreme Leader Snoke? Please, Lucas, we need answers.
Sincerely, a concerned citizen.